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Arrest made in case of missing Alaska barista Samantha Koenig, police say

The father of the 18-year-old, who police say was abducted at gunpoint from her espresso stand, says the reward for information that leads to her safe return has grown to $41,000. James Koenig had originally been offering a $12,500 reward. Facebook

Missing poster for Alaska barista Samantha Koenig, 18
Personal Photo/Facebook

(CBS/AP) ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Authorities said a man who owns a construction company in Anchorage has been arrested in Texas on charges related to the disappearance of an 18-year-old barista.

PICTURES: Missing Alaska barista kidnapped, police say

According to police, 34-year-old Israel Keyes was arrested this week in the disappearance of Samantha Koenig. He was described in a statement issued by police Thursday as "a person of interest" in Koenig's disappearance.

"He's the only person we charged and the only person of interest. The biggest thing at this time is that we haven't found Samantha Koenig and we don't know her whereabouts," Detective Slawomir Markiewicz told the Anchorage Daily News.

This arrest is the only public break Koenig's case. The arrest warrant remains sealed and police have revealed few details in the incident. On Feb. 1,  Koenig was last seen on surveillance tape being led away against her will by a man with a weapon at about 8 p.m. from the coffee shack where she worked.

Koenig's family has distributed thousands of flyers showing pictures of the missing woman. Her face is displayed on posters attached to cars, telephone poles and buildings.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell confirmed that few details would be immediately released.

"Because of the sensitivity of the case, they sealed it so it didn't compromise the case," she told the Associated Press.

Police have not revealed the charges against Keyes but according to the charging document filed in a Texas federal courthouse, Keyes is charged with access device fraud, which in the past has been used to prosecute people who illegally use another person's bank or credit card to steal money.

The police department said the arrest was a combined effort of the Anchorage police, the FBI and Texas authorities.

Shell said investigators want to speak to anyone who had personal contact with Keyes or his business, Keyes Construction.

"They're just wanting to talk to anybody who may have had contact with him in the past to see if there's any links that they can put together," Shell said.

Federal and local law enforcement are now asking for help from the public to find out more information about the self-employed builder.

"As I've said before, I believe this case will be solved. This is a step toward that goal, a big step," Detective Markiewicz said.

Complete coverage of missing Alaska barista Samantha Koenig on Crimesider


  • Crimesider Staff

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