Israel Keyes, previously described as “the main player” in Samantha Koenig’s abduction, is now facing federal charges of kidnapping resulting in the 18-year-old barista's death.
Charging documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage also list a count of receipt and possession of ransom money against Keyes, 34, as well as an existing count of access device fraud.
According to the documents, Keyes allegedly abducted Koenig from Midtown coffee stand Common Grounds Espresso -- an event APD said was seen by surveillance cameras -- and forced her into a white Chevrolet pickup truck parked in the nearby Home Depot parking lot at on the night of Feb. 1. He also allegedly took a debit card from a vehicle Koenig shared that was parked near her residence, forcing her to give him the card’s PIN which he scratched into the card.
The documents say Keyes killed Koenig on Feb. 2, then boarded a commercial airline flight from Anchorage to Houston, Texas and subsequently returned to Anchorage. On Feb. 24, Keyes allegedly used Koenig's cell phone to demand that ransom payments for her return be deposited to the debit card.
At Wednesday's announcement of the charges, federal officials say money from the reward funds to find Koenig was used to make ransom payments, which Keyes received by making several withdrawals from the debit card's account totaling $2,440 at several locations in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Keyes was arrested in March in Lufkin, Texas on the access-device fraud charge.
That assumption was shattered, however, by the April 2 discovery of a body believed to be Koenig’s in Matanuska Lake near Wasilla, whose identity was confirmed by an autopsy a few days later. At the announcement of the discovery, officials said they believe Koenig died within hours of her abduction.
APD and the FBI visited a Turnagain home where Keyes lived several times this spring, seizing the white pickup truck he drove while doing work for his business, Keyes Construction, as well as a large shed. Authorities have asked the public on several occasions for information from anyone who may have helped Keyes remove a large utility rack from the truck, or seen it in the vicinity of Common Grounds or Matanuska Lake.
Despite statements from Anchorage police and the FBI that Keyes was involved in Koenig’s abduction and that no other suspects were being sought in the case, Keyes had yet to be charged in Koenig’s death. Until Wednesday's charges, officials have only said that additional charges in the case were pending.
Koenig family spokesperson Michelle Tasker said Wednesday that the Koenig family had no immediate comment on Wednesday's announcement.
Keyes is expected to be arraigned Thursday.
Editor's note: An initial reference to a federal charge of kidnapping resulting in death as "kidnapping and murder" has been corrected.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.