A Missouri man was in the woods looking for deer antlers when he stumbled upon human remains that have since been identified as being a mixed martial arts fighter that had been missing for nearly two years.
Police responded to a call to the woods near Fall Creek Road in Branson on Dec. 22 for the discovery of suspected human remains. It was confirmed that the remains were human, and investigators from the Branson Police Department and the Taney County Coroner’s Office combed the area, and recovered "most of the remains and several other personal articles."
Forensic investigators identified the remains as those of David Koenig, an MMA fighter who had been reported missing approximately 21 months ago.
"The examination of the remains conducted by a forensic pathologist determined that there was no trauma and that the death did not appear to be the result of foul play," police said.
Koenig was last seen in early February 2020 at the Peach Tree Inn, where he had been staying temporarily.
On the night he was last seen, Koenig texted multiple people and told them that he feared he might be in danger and he needed their help, however, a missing person report was not filed until weeks later.
David’s mother, Tracy Koenig, said her son had "battled addiction for many years on and off."
"It wasn’t uncommon for him to go off somewhere and not communicate with us for days and even weeks," she said. "We really thought at first it was exactly what he was doing."
After receiving the devastating news, Tracy said her son was an "incredible person," and the family had been left heartbroken.
"Literally larger than life," she said. "Not just physically, but in everything about him. He was a big, beautiful, gentle giant with a heart of gold."