Barista's father to captors: Let her go

Casey Grove
James Koenig, father of Samantha Koenig, receives support from one of the family and friends that gathered near the Common Ground espresso stand after Koenig spoke to reporters Saturday.
MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News
James Koenig, left, father of Samantha Koenig, gathered with dozens of family and friends near the Common Grounds espresso stand Saturday to answer questions and distribute fliers. Police say Samantha Koenig was abducted from the coffee stand, background, on Wednesday night.
MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News

The father of an 18-year-old girl who police say was abducted Wednesday is pleading for her safe return.

"I want to ask my daughter's captors to please send her home," James Koenig told reporters Saturday at the Midtown coffee stand where Samantha Koenig vanished. To the kidnappers, he said: "I will give you anything in this world. I will meet you, I will give you whatever you want. Just please bring my daughter back."

The father said he is offering a more than $12,500 reward for information that leads to Samantha coming home safely. She was working as a barista at the coffee hut at the time of the apparent abduction.

Police say they have made no arrests in the case and have said little about the investigation.

Surveillance video shows an armed man wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt walk up to the turquoise Common Grounds Coffee shack in the parking lot of the Alaska Club at 630 E. Tudor Road, a detective said. He approached at about 8 p.m., near the end of Samantha's barista shift, and was somehow able to get inside the coffee stand, police said. The man appeared to force Koenig to leave with him on foot, heading east. Any cash in the coffee stand was missing, the owner said.

No one has reported seeing Koenig since.

Police have refused to release the video, saying doing so would threaten the ongoing investigation. Detectives would not say what kind of weapon the man was carrying.

James Koenig said Saturday he had not heard any new details about the investigation from police.

"I don't know if my daughter's being fed, taken care of, if she's still alive, if she's getting any sleep. I don't think any of us are," he said, gesturing at the 40 or so friends huddled in the parking lot Saturday.

Koenig handed out green ribbons -- green is Samantha's favorite color, he said -- and fliers with her photos and "KIDNAPPED" across the top.

"I couldn't get through this without you guys," he said to the small crowd, his voice cracking. "I just need her home. Every day she's gone, the odds are against us."

Statistics show that to be true, said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker. The chances that an abduction victim will be found alive decrease over time, he said.

"Obviously, our hope is that she's alive. But we're going to continue investigating the case regardless," Parker said.

Investigators are working long hours following any and all leads, Detective David Cordie said Saturday.

"We've got everybody in, working on it," Cordie said. "All information that comes in, we have to look at."

A flood of tips are being assigned one by one to multiple teams of detectives, Cordie said. The police also are following active leads they have generated that are separate from information from the public, he said.

Cordie would not comment on whether the investigators think the abductor was someone familiar with Samantha Koenig or a stranger. It's unclear if the kidnapper was alone, if he worked with an accomplice or if the abduction involved a vehicle, Detective Slawomir Markiewicz said Friday.

James Koenig said his hunch is that Samantha knew the person or people responsible for her disappearance.

"But I can't give out any names," he said. "The police, I'm sure, have investigated it and I'm sure are questioning these people daily."

He refused to elaborate.

Court records show Samantha Koenig filed for a protective order against a man in November. She didn't show up in court for a hearing related to the case and the order was never issued, court records show.

Such an order would prohibit the accused from contacting the petitioner or coming within a certain number of feet of her.

Cordie said he thought the allegations described in the protective order were investigated by police but did not lead to criminal charges.

The detective would not say if police have talked to the man named in the protective order filing. He would not say if the man was a suspect or if he had been ruled out as a suspect.

"In an investigation like this, you start with people who know her and work your way out from there. So of course, he would be someone to look at and interview," said Parker, the police spokesman.

Samantha Koenig's boyfriend, who would only provide his first name, Dwayne, said he and Samantha started dating about 10 months ago. They met while attending West High School, he said.

"She's a really good person and this shouldn't be happening to her," said the boyfriend, who is not the man named in the protective order filing. "She doesn't deserve this."

Samantha Koenig is described as 5 feet, 5 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. The man whom police believe kidnapped her is significantly taller, a detective said.

Donations to the reward fund can be made at Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union.

Anyone with information on Koenig's whereabouts is asked to call police at 786-8900.

Anchorage Daily News