Search Continues for Kidnapped Anchorage Barista
Anchorage police said surveillance video footage showed Samantha Koenig was abducted from Common Grounds Espresso by an armed man wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt.
ANCHORAGE - Three days ago, Samantha Koenig disappeared.
“I don’t know if my daughter is fed, taken care of, if she’s alive,” said her father, James Koenig, in an emotional public plea from the spot where she was last seen. “Just please, help me find my daughter.”
After the 18-year-old barista vanished from her job at Common Grounds Espresso in Midtown Anchorage Wednesday night, Anchorage police said surveillance video footage showed Koenig was abducted from the coffee stand by an armed man wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt.
Despite a $12,500 reward offered up by her father and hundreds of brightly colored fliers reading “Kidnapped” and plastered in car windows and on street signs across town, there’ve been no signs of her.
Ashley Sollenberger, one of Koenig’s closest friends, remembers the exact moment she first heard the news. The two had met during a summer job at the House of Harley-Davidson, and when they weren’t spending time at Sollenberger’s East Anchorage home or going out to the movies, they would communicate via text or phone.
But the last time Sollenberger heard from her friend was on Monday, when Koenig sent her one last text message before going to bed for the night. On Thursday, Sollenberger received a text from a former House of Harley coworker: “Did you know Samantha is missing?”
She said she instantly tried calling her: the phone was off.
“Samantha always kept in contact,” Sollenberger said. “It was unusual not to hear from her at all.”
Koenig’s old coworkers at the local motorcycle shop agree. They said she was a people-person, always chatting with a customer or asking if she could help them.
“I was really surprised at how many people actually knew her,” said Aimee Matteson, a year-long employee at House of Harley who has been working to spread the word about Koenig’s disappearance to as many customers as possible. “There were people coming in here, people putting up flyers that knew her, and there were just tons of them.”
It’s been several months since Koenig worked at the store, but many of the regulars still recognize the girl staring up from the posters as the bubbly teenager who helped them with their bikes over the summer.
Sitting around the lobby of the Spenard motorcycle shop, they mull over what might have happened to her. “I thought she looked awfully familiar,” said one man, cradling a Styrofoam cup of free coffee.
“I just don’t want it to end up like a Bonnie Craig thing, where twenty years later you’re wondering what or who,” said another, dressed in worn jeans stained with motor oil and a faded Harley t-shirt.
Koenig’s friends said she would drop anything to help anyone, learn anybody’s name. Now, passing out her fliers to everybody who walks through the door, they said they just want people to know hers.