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Feb. 25 2010 - 4:22 pm | 1,297 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Missing Andrew Koenig’s body found in Stanley Park

Andrew Koenig, the missing activist, actor and producer whose disappearance sparked a social and mainstream media frenzy over the past few days, is missing no longer.

The body was found by a Vancouver police search team a friend of his, who was part of a team of friends and family doing one last sweep through the park (Stanley Park is the largest urban park in the world, and is densely forested). A press conference has been called for five pm today and Koenig’s parents Judy and Walter Koenig are expected to attend. Officially, the police have not yet issued an official statement about the identity of the body.

From Vancouverite:

“Vancouver Police are investigating the discovery of a body found in Stanley Park around noon today. The body is believed to be that of Andrew Koenig,” police said in a statement.

Andrew Koenig

Andrew Koenig

UPDATED: the press conference is over(video link), and it is official: the body is that of Andrew Koenig, who took his own life.

Koenig was known to millions as “Boner” on the sitcom “Growing Pains,” and had a wide network of devoted friends throughout the US entertainment industry as well as neighbors and old friends in Vancouver, California and New York. In recent days he’d returned borrowed items, cleared out his Venice, CA house, and returned to his favorite spot; the last sighting was at a favorite bakery near Stanley Park. All of this behavior is sadly consistent with a deliberately planned suicide.

As well as his own connections, his father, Walter, is quite simply world-famous for playing Pavel Chekov, the feisty Russian helmsman on the original series of Star Trek. The father of a missing child naturally reaches for any tool at his disposal to help solve the mystery and bring his child home safe, and while Walter Koenig simply contacted friends of Andrew’s and the family’s and put up a notice on his website, the sheer star power involved meant that this information quickly cascaded out to well-connected people with fans of their own who retweeted, re-posted, and reiterated the message, reaching hundreds of millions of people over the past week.

Some observers, while supporting the efforts to find the missing man, have decried this celebrity effect, pointing out that many thousands of obscure people go missing every year and there are no scheduled appearances on Larry King for the parents, no fanclubs to mobilize, no international media storms. To them I say this:

I met a man once. He was creepy, and people warned me against him, so I kept my guard up and didn’t take him up on his invitation to see his “place in the country.” But it turned out later that many, many women did. In fact, remnants of over 80 women has been found at his “place in the country,” better known now as Willy Pickton’s pig farm.

That case came to light not when the parents of some of those missing women contacted the police (which they did, repeatedly). It did not come to light when women themselves appeared at the police station, bruised and bloody, to ask them to file charges against him. It did not come to light when the boyfriend of one of the women went up and down the streets of Vancouver, telling anyone who would listen that there was a serial killer out there.

It came to light when her family leveraged their rich and deep social connections and prominence to draw press attention to the case. If Sarah deVries‘ parents had not been a senior professor at the University of British Columbia and the head nurse at Vancouver General Hospital, and they had not thrown everything they had into the effort to get press, it’s entirely possible that one of North America’s most terrible killers could still be a free man, free to continue to kill for all this time.

Celebrity is a two-edged sword, ask anyone famous enough to have an IMDB page, but sometimes that sword can be uplifted to cut through barriers which should never have existed in the first place.

In this global village we should all respect and appreciate parents who knock down barriers to get to Justice.

Related: here is an online depression screening test from the Mayo Clinic (via Pete Quily)


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