Police Explain Why They Won’t Release Video of Koenig Abduction
Could be used as evidence in trial; release could taint jury
ANCHORAGE - It’s day seven and there’s still no sign of Samantha Koenig.
Anchorage police say the 18-year-old barista was kidnapped from Common Grounds Espresso stand in Midtown on February 1. Investigators say they have proof she was abducted, but they refuse to release the surveillance footage and many people are wondering why.
Anchorage police say showing the video now would be purely for entertainment, because besides containing evidence that could be used in a courtroom, they say the video shows nothing that would help them solve the crime.
It’s surveillance footage everyone wants to see.
“Our detectives have gone over those videos frame by frame, slow motion, fast motion, normal speed, everything they could possibly do to make that determination as to who that is,” said Anchorage police spokesperson Lieutenant Dave Parker. But APD is not sharing what it says is proof Samantha Koenig was kidnapped – not even with her family.
“We have not seen any surveillance,” said Samantha’s mom Darlene Christiansen.
Police say it will not help them solve the crime. “There is an evidentiary nature to those videos that were taken in by these security cameras and they can be used later on in court,” said Parker. “But if we are to present them now it would have the effect of tainting the jury.”
While Samantha's family members understand, they still wonder why any image can't be released to prompt someone to step forward to talk.
“We just want to see the tape, whatever it is that they are holding back and they feel will taint the jury whatever, fine, hold that back, let us see it, let the public see it,” said Samantha’s aunt.
The owners of Common Grounds have seen the footage. It's what prompted them to call for help, and while they say the footage is disturbing, it doesn't show much. “The glimpse that we got from viewing over the internet was enough for us to realize that something happened,” said co-owner Tyler Duncan.
“Whoever this is took very obvious and deliberate measures to avoid being captured on video, I can absolutely confirm that, and I do not believe the police have anything hugely substantial to go on.”
“Obviously the face of the suspect is not that discernable in those videos and that would be a wonderful thing if we had a photograph of the suspect but we obviously don't have that at this time,” said Parker.
Family members say they have no choice but to trust the police to do their job.
“I want her home, its just unbelievable, you watch it on TV, you never think it happens to your own child,” said Christiansen. They're also relying on the public's help even if there's no photo or footage to go by. “If anybody has seen anything let APD know as soon as possible,” said Christiansen.
Parker says they are trying to keep the family informed, but they have to be careful because if any info went to the wrong person it could blow the whole investigation. As of right now there are dozens of detectives and officers as well as the FBI working the case to find Samantha Koenig and they are following every lead coming their way. They are asking anyone who was on Tudor road that night or in nearby areas who may have seen anything suspicious to call 786-2460.
In the meantime there will be a candlelight vigil held for Samantha, Saturday, February 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Delaney Park strip downtown.