New Search Warrant Executed at Accused Murderer Israel Keyes' Home
Accused killer of barista Samantha Koenig allegedly connected to murders in another state
ANCHORAGE - Up until seven months ago much of Anchorage had never heard of Israel Keyes, until he was connected with one of the highest profile murders in recent city history.
Tuesday, the FBI and Anchorage police executed a federal search warrant at Keyes' Turnagain home, where APD said Keyes was living at the time of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig’s murder. Law enforcement would not release information about what they were looking for.
Accord to federal charging documents, at about 8 p.m. on February 1, Keyes forced Samantha Koenig from her workplace, the Common Grounds Espresso shack on Tudor Road, to his white 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, which was parked across the street in the Home Depot parking lot.
That same night prosecutors said Keyes stole Koenig’s debit card and cell phone. Court documents state Keyes killed Koenig the following day, on February 2.
But that wasn’t discovered until Keyes was in custody.
During the investigation authorities believed Koenig was alive because of text messages Keyes was sending from the phone to demand ransom money, according to the charging documents.
“Don't forget, we're still looking for Samantha, so this is a very sensitive investigation, that is our primary objective is to find Samantha and hopefully, as you asked before, yes, we do think she's alive and we're pursuing that,” said APD Deputy Chief Steve Smith on March 16.
Within three weeks Keyes allegedly withdrew more than $2,400 dollars in ransom money.
Two days after his last withdrawal, on March 13, Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, charged with access device fraud, and named a person of interest in her kidnapping.
He arrived in Alaska on March 26.
Then on April 2, Koenig's friends' and family members' worst nightmare came true. Koenig's body was recovered from Matanuska Lake, off the Glenn Highway.
“I know one question both the Koenig family and people in Anchorage have asked from the outset -- why Samantha?” FBI Special Agent Mary Rook said in April.
Keyes was charged with kidnapping resulting in death, as well as receipt and possession of ransom money, on April 18.
“The indictment alleges that Israel Keyes abducted Samantha Koenig from the Common Grounds coffee stand on Tudor Road on February 1, 2012,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin Feldis. “And that he took her against her will to his white pick-up trick that was parked across the street. The allegations continue that he confined her and intentionally killed her early the next morning.”
New allegations, revealed on July 20, connected Keyes to the murders of a Vermont couple in 2011.
“The evidence now establishes that on June 8, into the 9th, Bill and Lorraine Currier were abducted from their home and murdered by the person who had abducted them,” said Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan.
The suspect was never named, but officials said he was in custody in another state. Jennifer Reading, a WCAX-TV reporter in the region, said her investigation pointed directly to Keyes.
Federal prosecutors have until December 31 to pursue the death penalty against Keyes. He is scheduled to be in court on March 11, 2013.