In the four weeks since Anchorage police say an armed man apparently abducted 18-year-old Samantha Koenig from a Midtown coffee hut, detectives have released few new details on their investigation.
Still, police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker says the team of investigators believe they are getting closer each day to finding Koenig and her apparent abductor.
"They don't have any new developments to release, although they are making progress day by day," Parker said Wednesday, which marked one month since Koenig disappeared.
Concerned members of the public "will have to take our word for it," Parker said. "We can't share everything that's going on in the investigation."
On Feb. 1, Koenig was working at Common Grounds Espresso in the parking lot of the Alaska Club at 630 E. Tudor Road, police said. Video surveillance shows a man holding a weapon walk up to the coffee hut just before 8 p.m. Police refused to describe the weapon or release any images from the video. The abductor obscured the camera's view somehow, caused Koenig to appear frightened, and forced her to leave with him on foot. They walked to the west, police said.
The surveillance video contains the last known images of Koenig. Nobody has reported seeing her since. Police must assume that she is still alive, Parker said.
"We are assuming that, yes. And we will continue to assume that until there is evidence to prove otherwise," Parker said. "We have to go where the evidence leads us in any investigation, and especially one of this gravity."
Meantime, a reward fund set up by Koenig's father and infused with cash from benefit events has swelled from Koenig's initial deposit of $12,500. It's now between $65,000 to $70,000, the father, James Koenig, said Wednesday.
Koenig would not say exactly how much money is in the Denali Alaskan Federal Credit account. He has offered the money as a reward to anyone with information that leads to his daughter's safe return and as a possible cash payment to her apparent kidnappers if she is released unharmed.
"Whoever brings her homes gets it," he said. "It is what it is, and if it ain't enough for 'em, we'll just have to go find her on our own, and nobody gets a dime."
Koenig said he is tired of answering questions and receiving criticism related to the money, some of which he has used to pay bills -- including electric, phone and heating bills -- "to keep the home running so she has one to come home to."
"People just need to mind their own business," he said. "I don't appreciate them saying we're raising these funds so I can line my own pockets."
Many people donating money have told him to use the cash as he sees fit, he said.
Koenig said he has been unable to work during his daughter's disappearance, spending the past month conducting searches of his own and following leads.
"Anything new I learn, I'm not divulging to anybody except the police," he said. I just really don't know how close or how far off they are. They can't tell me who they're looking at or anything about the investigation."
Tips on Samantha Koenig's disappearance can be delivered to police at 786-2460 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP. More information on contacting the Koenig family directly can be found at helpfindsamanthakoenig.com.
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE
Anchorage Daily News