Remains of missing amateur MMA fighter were found by man searching for deer antlers
Police and coroner’s office investigators found some of his belongings while searching the area and a forensic dentist confirmed it was Koenig, who was 25 when he went missing.
Koenig was last seen on February 8, 2020 and was reported missing in March.
“We’re just heartbroken,” her mother Tracy Koenig said in a statement to CNN. “And although Dave has been missing / missing for 22 months, that doesn’t make it any easier. What we feel now is just indescribable pain.”
She said she feared her son would be killed, but it was still difficult to learn that he died alone.
A medical examiner found no trauma during an examination and determined that “the death did not appear to be the result of a criminal act,” police said in the statement.
The Taney County Coroner’s Office told CNN that Koenig’s mode of death was undetermined and the cause was unknown.
After Koenig was reported missing, Branson Police worked with several law enforcement areas and conducted several searches for properties in Taney and Stone counties in Missouri and across the state border in Missouri. Boone County, Arkansas, police said in a statement.
Two of those searches included excavations of suspicious areas of disturbed land.
Relatives described Koenig as a tall man with an even bigger heart.
“Training with him has always been a pleasure. He cared about the group and was always there to listen and support his teammates. Truly a gentle giant,” said JT Tilley, head coach of Branson Fight Club.
Koenig’s father Rick runs a martial arts gym in Branson and said he has trained his son in the sport his entire life. “I mean, ever since he was a baby he grew up on rugs,” he said.
He said his son was his best friend.
David was working to become a professional fighter. He lost his first fight after injuring his feet in the cage, but went on to win his next five fights, his father said.
“He was on the right track to do great things,” said Rick Koenig, adding that his son “was a phenomenal man”.
Koenig’s mother said “he lived his life like a rockstar” and was everyone’s friend.
“He was that guy you meet once and never forget,” she wrote. “He was an amazing person with so much to give, and I’m incredibly proud to call him my son.”