Anchorage Man Indicted for Kidnapping and Killing Samantha Koenig
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 18, 2012|
ANCHORAGE—United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today, April 18, 2012, that a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Israel Keyes on charges that he kidnapped and killed 18-year-old Samantha Koenig.
The indictment charges Keyes with three counts: (1) kidnapping resulting in the death of Samantha Koenig, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1); (2) receiving and possessing ransom money in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1202(a); and (3) access device fraud, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(5).
The indictment alleges that Israel Keyes, age 34, abducted Samantha Koenig from the Common Grounds coffee stand on Tudor Road on February 1, 2012 and took her against her will to his white pickup truck that was parked across the street. The allegations continue that he confined her and intentionally killed her early the next morning.
The indictment also alleges that Keyes stole a debit card from a vehicle shared by Ms. Koenig that was parked near her residence and that he further obtained the PIN for that card from Samantha Koenig. Keyes also sent text messages from Samantha’s cell phone to conceal her abduction. According to the indictment, Keyes then left Alaska and boarded a flight to Texas.
The indictment further alleges that on February 24, Keyes sent a text message using Samantha’s cell phone for the purpose of demanding that ransom money be placed into the bank account connected to the stolen debit card. With the help of the reward money generously contributed by members of this community, Samantha’s family deposited money into this account, and the indictment charges that Keyes used the stolen debit card to withdraw this ransom money from ATMs in Alaska, and then in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. Law enforcement was able to track these withdrawals.
The crime of kidnapping and killing Samantha Koenig charged in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of life in prison or death. The United States anticipates that Israel Keyes will be arraigned in federal court on these charges tomorrow.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges today are the result of the dedicated work and cooperation of the Anchorage Police Department, the FBI, the Texas Rangers and State Police, the Lufkin Texas Police Department, the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office.