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Body found north of Anchorage

By Mary Pemberton

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 21 2012 1:18 p.m. MDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage police on Wednesday were awaiting autopsy results after a body was found by a person walking in the woods on snow shoes near a scenic lake on the first day of spring.

As first reported by KTUU-TV, the human remains were discovered late Tuesday afternoon near a road leading to glacier-fed Eklutna Lake, a popular place for winter cross-country skiing, dog mushing and snowmobiling about 26 miles north of Anchorage.

The discovery has led to speculation that it is the remains of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, a barista kidnapped about seven weeks ago from the coffee stand where she worked next to a busy Anchorage intersection.

Police on Wednesday were not saying if the remains are those of a man or woman, or how long they had been in the woods. Anchorage police spokesman Dave Parker said autopsy results could take a few days, but the department hoped to get results as soon as possible given the strong community interest in Koenig's disappearance.

The case of the missing barista has galvanized the city in recent weeks with dozens of volunteers plastering the city with posters of the young woman's smiling face underneath a headline reading "KIDNAPPED" in large, red letters. Several candlelight vigils also have been held with family and friends appealing for the young woman's safe return.

Parker said there are other open missing persons cases in Anchorage, but the Koenig case has been the focus of investigators since she was kidnapped Feb. 1.

Koenig's father, James Koenig Jr., told a reporter, "I have nothing for you," when contacted Wednesday morning.

Koenig was last seen on a surveillance tape just before the coffee stand was to close for the evening. She was being led away by a man police believe was armed. The stand was locked but left in disarray and money was gone.

Earlier this month, a man who owns a construction company in Anchorage was arrested in Texas on charges related to Koenig's disappearance. Israel Keyes, 34, was arrested in Lufkin on charges of access to device fraud, normally used to prosecute people who illegally use another person's bank or credit card to steal money.

The arrest was a combined effort of Anchorage police, the FBI and Texas authorities.

Police are not saying if they have found a connection between the young woman and Keyes apart from the use of her card.

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