Police Release Detailed Account Of Koenig Murder (2024)


Anchorage, Alaska – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Anchorage Police Department, after speaking to family members, are able to release additional details of the kidnapping and murder of Samantha Koenig. These details are being provided both to fully explain the courage and resolve Samantha displayed in the final hours of her life, as well as in the hopes that the release of additional details will help investigations of other murders committed by Israel Keyes.

Prior to February 1, 2012, Keyes had selected the Common Grounds coffee stand located on Tudor Road for the site of abduction. He did this after considering other coffee stands, but chose Common Grounds because of its location and because it was open later than other coffee stands. Keyes had never met or seen Samantha Koenig before. He approached the coffee stand just prior to closing time, wearing a ski mask and ordered a coffee. Samantha made the coffee and handed it to Keyes; he then pulled out a gun and demanded money. Samantha complied and then Keyes forced himself inside the coffee stand and tied Samantha’s hands with zip ties. He asked where her car was, and she told him that she did not have a vehicle. Keyes then forcibly walked her out of the coffee stand toward Tudor Road.

Samantha broke away from Keyes and tried to run away. Keyes chased her and tackled her to the ground. He put one arm around her and pointed a gun at her body with the other hand; telling her that she needed to cooperate, that the gun had very quiet ammo and that she should not do anything to make him kill her. They walked across Tudor Road into the parking lot between the IHOP restaurant and Dairy Queen, where Keyes’ white truck was parked. Keyes had previously prepared the truck for the abduction by taking the mounted tool boxes off the bed of the truck, as well as removing the license plates. Keyes then bound Samantha in the truck and drove away.

Keyes drove around town, explaining to Samantha that this was a kidnapping for ransom. Samantha told Keyes that her family did not have much money, and that Keyes was not likely to get much in ransom. Keyes explained that they will raise money for the ransom by seeking the public’s help. Keyes convinced Samantha that if she cooperated, she would be returned to her family unharmed. Samantha believed Keyes, and tried to talk to him in an effort to convince him to release her. At some point on the drive, Keyes realized that Samantha did not have her cell phone, which was necessary for his plan to demand ransom money by sending a text message from her phone. He drove back to Common Grounds and re-entered the coffee stand, leaving Samantha bound in his truck. He retrieved the cell phone and got back into the truck and drove away. Keyes drove to another part of town where he sent two text messages from Samantha’s phone. The first message was to Samantha’s boyfriend, and the second to the owner of Common Grounds. The text messages made it appear that Samantha just had a bad day and was leaving town for the weekend. Keyes then took the battery out of Samantha’s phone.

Keyes asked Samantha for her debit card. Samantha told Keyes that she shared a bank account with her boyfriend, and that his ATM card was in the truck that they shared. Samantha told Keyes where her house was, and gave him the pin number to the ATM card. Keyes put Samantha in the shed in front of his house, bound her, and turned the radio up in the shed so no one would hear her if she screamed. He also told her that he had a police scanner and would know if she attempted to alert the neighbors.

Keyes drove to Samantha’s house and retrieved the ATM card from her truck. While he was at Samantha’s, he was confronted by her boyfriend, who yelled at him and then went back in the house to get help. Keyes ran back to his truck and left the area before he could be found. He drove to an ATM machine to test the pin number provided by Samantha. He then returned to the shed.

Keyes then sexually assaulted Samantha and asphyxiated her. Keyes left her in the shed and then went back inside his house, where he packed for a pre-planned cruise that he was taking from New Orleans. He left early that morning (February 2) for the cruise.

Keyes returned to Anchorage on February 17, 2012. He then began preparing a ransom note that demanded money be placed in the account connected with the ATM card. He went into the shed and retrieved Samantha’s body, taking steps to make it appear that she was still alive, and took a Polaroid picture of her tied up. The photo also showed Keyes’ arm holding the Anchorage Daily News from February 13, 2012. He photocopied the photo and, using a manual typewriter he purchased, typed a ransom demand for $30,000 on the back of the photo.

After preparing the note and photo, he placed it in Connor’s Bog Park, under a memorial flyer of a dog named “Albert”. Then, using Samantha’s cell phone, he texted her boyfriend, in substance, that the ransom note was “under Albert” in Connor’s Bog Park. The note was recovered by APD.

In the days that followed, Keyes dismembered Samantha’s body and drove out to Matanuska Lake, where he cut a hole in the ice and put her body in the lake.

Meanwhile, Samantha’s father James Koenig deposited reward money, which had been generously donated by members of the community, into the account connected with Samantha’s ATM card. The plan was to attempt to catch the perpetrator by tracking any withdrawals. ATM withdrawals were made in Anchorage, and then in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Authorities were able to determine that the perpetrator of these withdrawals was driving a white Ford Focus. The FBI and the Texas Rangers tracked the ATM withdrawals as they occurred. Ultimately, Corporal Bryan Henry, of the Texas Highway Patrol, pulled over a white Ford Focus matching the description. Keyes was driving. Henry, along with Texas Ranger Steve Rayburn, obtained enough information during the traffic stop to search the Ford Focus. Samantha’s cellular telephone was found in the car, and the ATM card was found in Keyes’ wallet.

Josh Edge, Alaska Public Media
Police Release Detailed Account Of Koenig Murder (2024)


Who was Samantha Koenig's boyfriend? ›

Samantha is survived by her boyfriend, Duane Tortolani II and her best friends Ashley Rene Sollenberger and Kelsey O'Connor.

Who was the serial killer in Tupper Lake? ›

Israel Keyes (January 7, 1978 – December 2, 2012) was an American serial killer, bank robber, burglar, arsonist, kidnapper, and sex offender.

Is there a movie about Israel Keyes? ›

Who was the mass killer in Alaska? ›

Hansen abducted, raped and murdered at least seventeen women, many of whom he may have attacked in the wilderness with a Ruger Mini-14 and hunting knives. Hansen was captured in 1983 and sentenced to 461 years' imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He died in 2014 of natural causes at age 75.

What happened to Regina Kay Walters? ›

She disappeared in February 1990 with 18-year-old boyfriend Ricky Lee Jones. Her body was found months later at an abandoned farm in Illinois. The body of Ricky Lee Jones was found in October of 1990, one month after Regina. In 1994, Robert Ben Rhoades was convicted of the first degree murder of Regina Walters.

How tall was Israel Keyes? ›

In 2012, Israel Keyes was 34 years old and described as 6'2” tall and 190 pounds.

Who was Arthur the serial killer in Utah? ›

Arthur Gary Bishop (September 29, 1952 – June 10, 1988) was an American convicted sex offender and serial killer. In 1983, as a result of a routine police investigation, he confessed to the murders of five young boys between 1979 and 1983. Hinckley, Utah, U.S.

Who is the serial killer Martinez? ›

José Manuel Martínez (born 1962), dubbed El Mano Negra ("The Black Hand") is a Mexican-American former self-described drug cartel hitman. Martínez confessed to an estimated 36 murders and was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murder in multiple states.

Who was the serial killer in Alaska 2012? ›

Who is Israel Keyes? Keyes was a serial killer from Alaska. He confessed to murdering eight people, though authorities believe he is responsible for 11 killings between 2001 and 2012.

Did Israel Keyes have a kid? ›

Daughter. In 2000, Keyes became involved with a woman living on the Washington Makah Reservation. The next year, their daughter, whose name hasn't been made public, was born. In July 2001, Keyes went to live with the mother of his child after being honorably discharged from the Army.

What happened to Samantha Koenig? ›

Instead, Keyes drove Samantha to his home, chained her up in his shed, and sexually assaulted her. Keyes then strangled her to death. Keyes' family, the FBI later determined, knew nothing about the horrors that had just taken place.

Who is the most elusive serial killer? ›

The Zodiac Killer is the pseudonym of an unidentified serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s. The Zodiac murdered five known victims in the San Francisco Bay Area between December 1968 and October 1969, operating in rural, urban and suburban settings.

Who was the serial killer that killed immigrants? ›

Between February 1, 1971 and May 19, 1971 inSutter County, California 25 migrant workers were murdered by a man with schizophrenianamed Juan Vallejo Corona.

What is the movie about the foundation of Israel? ›

Exodus is a 1960 American epic historical drama film about the founding of the State of Israel.

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Israel: Birth of a Nation.

What is the show about Samantha Koenig? ›

Method of a Serial Killer.

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