Reward for abducted barista's return grows to $41,000

MISSING: Woman missing from coffee shack hasn't been seen since Wednesday.

Anchorage Daily NewsFebruary 4, 2012 

A reward fund grew Sunday to more than $41,000 in the case of the missing barista, and Anchorage police say they are working hard to find the 18-year-old, whom they believe was abducted. But they had little new information to release publicly.

Samantha Koenig vanished Wednesday evening near the end of her shift at the Common Grounds Coffee shack, in the parking lot of the Alaska Club at 630 E. Tudor Road. Surveillance video shows a man wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt somehow getting into the coffee stand, police say. He appears to be armed, though it's hard to make out particulars, and it appears he forces Koenig to leave with him on foot, heading east, police say.

Police have not released the video, which has been a source of frustration for concerned Anchorage residents who want to help find the young woman.

Lt. Dave Parker, a police spokesman, said people might find the video interesting, but releasing it wouldn't help solve the case. "There's nothing in there that will help us identify the perpetrator. We've already told people it's a male wearing a hoodie and that's about all we can tell."

So the man's face doesn't show?

"If his face was shown, don't you think that would have been the first thing out of our mouths? 'Look at this video! Who is this man?' " Parker said.

Parker said the camera gave a better view of Koenig.

"We do see the victim in the video, acting and reacting, and that was what led us to realize that this was a kidnapping as opposed to simply a missing person," he said.

Police normally don't release evidence during an investigation unless it could help solve a case, he said.

Detectives were working leads on Sunday, he said. But police lost valuable time early on. The coffee stand reported Koenig as missing about noon on Thursday. By the time police suspected an abduction, snow had covered up tracks and scents, Parker said.

"This is one of those things where the young lady disappeared, and we have no indication about where she went," Parker said.

Also on Sunday, her father, James Koenig, said a reward fund for information that leads to her safe return had reached $41,000 and was continuing to increase.

Friends were rounding up donations deposited in collection buckets placed around town.

"It's growing every minute," Koenig said. "Family, friends, unknown, anonymous. It's coming from all over the United States."

He sounded weary. He didn't have more to share from police.

"They're assuring me they are doing everything they possibly can," the father said.

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