Man searching woods for deer antlers discovers remains of MMA fighter missing since March 2020

Fighter had texted friends he was ‘in danger’ on night of disappearance

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 28 December 2021 20:23 GMT
Related video: ‘We want her home’: Sister of missing woman frantic for clues in her disappearance
Leer en Español

A man searching the woods for deer antlers in Missouri has stumbled onto the remains of an MMA fighter who went missing in March of 2020.

The woodsman discovered skeletal remains while he was walking through the Missouri Ozarks, putting to rest a mystery that had plagued the town of Branson and one family for nearly two years.

The remains found were confirmed by a forensic pathologist to be those of David Koenig, an MMA fighter who disappeared in 2020. His relatives became worried and reported him missing in March.

The fighter disappeared under mysterious circumstances; according to the family, Mr Koenig was last seen at a hotel, and texted his friends that he "may be in danger" and asked for a ride. By the time his friends responded to his message, there was no answer.

According to OzarksFirst, the family waited a month to report him missing as he was known to go "off the grid" from time to time. By March, the family became concerned and filed the missing person report.

A multi-state search was launched, but no evidence of Mr Koenig's whereabouts were discovered until the woodman made his discovery nearly two years later.

Tracy Koenig, David's mother, posted a message to a Facebook group dedicated to finding the missing fighter after the discovery was confirmed as her son.

“He was not shot, stabbed, no broken bones of any sort,” Ms Koenig wrote to the Facebook group on Monday.

“He wasn’t robbed, as his tattered wallet was still intact as well as the two silver necklaces he always wore amongst some other things. All the rumours were FALSE! Nobody killed Dave. Nobody! He left the Peachtree on foot and never made it home. Why he was in distress, and why he walked through the deep woods… we most likely will never know.”

No foul play is suspected in Mr Koenig's death.

Eric Schmitt, assistant chief of the Branson Police Department, said the discovery was not the hoped-for ending in Mr Koenig's story.

“To say that this case didn’t affect anybody in the agency would be a complete misstatement,” he said. “It didn’t matter what investigation we were on we were asking about Dave.”

Missouri Missing, an organisation dedicated to supporting the families of the missing, praised the Koenigs for their dedication to the search.

“I think David’s mom Tracy was doing an amazing job,” Maureen Reintjes, Executive Director of Communications for Missouri Missing, told OzarksFirst.

“She was doing everything we want to see the family do. Reaching out to media, getting searches organised, getting the public aware of the case. She did excellent.”

She said that while the mystery of Mr Koenig's ultimate fate may be solved, it did not mean the family will have full closure.

“They have an answer now, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have questions,” she said. “That doesn’t mean that they aren’t changed forever. Their lives never go back to the way it was before.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in