Former Growing Pains Andrew Koenig has been missing since Feb. 16 -- and the last person to see him alive tells UsMagazine.com she doesn't "have a good feeling" about his whereabouts.
"There's a small part of me that feels he just decided he wanted to live in the bushes or the mountains and not deal with people anymore," burlesque artist Jenny Magenta tells Us. "But there are a lot of classic signs -- things that he has done in the past couple months -- that point to the possibility that he’s taken his own life. As a friend, I don't know if he was ever diagnosed with depression, but I do know his father was concerned when he left Los Angeles. He didn’t seem quite right."
The 41-year-old Koenig -- who reportedly had been battling depression -- arrived in Vancouver, B.C., Feb. 11 after moving out of his Venice, Calif., apartment complex, where he had lived for nine years.
"He looked healthy," says Magenta, who has known Koenig since he was 21. "We were talking about old times and friends. He was very appreciative that I was able to offer a place for him to stay. We got to my home, and he made it very clear: 'I don’t want you to go out of your way for me. I'm just here to spend time and see some friends.'"
But she tells Us he soon began acting "out of character."
"He insisted on paying me for staying at my home," she says. "Think about it -- a friend who you've known for years comes to visit you and they're wanting to pay you rent? That's just weird."
She also noticed that he had been "spending a lot of money which is also out of character," Magenta tells Us. "We went to a local pub, and we bumped into a friend of mine. I introduced them, and he immediately offered to buy her a drink. That's not typical for him."
She says they spent their last day together Feb. 14 "chatting and watching the Olympics."
Magenta says Koenig had originally planned on leaving that day but asked if he could stay another night. "I told him sure, but then he said, 'Well, maybe I should book a hotel. Maybe it'd be nice to stay a couple more days in a hotel,'" she recalls. "But he had maxed out his credit card on this trip, which again is very unusual. He was always a very frugal person."
After she made a few hotel suggestions, he said, "'I just want to find a place where I can pay cash,'" Magenta tells Us. "I told him no hotel would just take cash. My girlfriend, who had just met him, said, 'You can use my credit card.' And he said, 'No, I'm not comfortable with that.' He didn’t want anybody else connected to this hotel thing."
Making no mention that he had moved out of his apartment of nine years, Koenig then told his pal, "'I'll just stay here one more night and I'll fly out the next morning,'" Magenta tells Us.
"When we got up," she says, "he was gone."
She says he left a handwritten note thanking her and her roommate for being accommodating. "It was short," Magenta tells Us. "Very uncharacteristically Andrew."
Two days later, Koenig's parents, Walter Koenig and Judy Levitt Koenig, received a letter from their son. Magenta tells Us the note was "very direct and disturbing" and his parents "felt it was important to contact police immediately." (Police say there has been no activity on his cell phone and ATM card since that date.)
"If Andrew is alive and distressed somewhere, it’s important that this information that's out there is not sensationalized," Magenta tells Us. "We want him to know we're here for him."
Fighting back tears, she adds, "We're not going to judge him. I’m not going to be mad if he phones me from wherever ... I’m going to be overjoyed, and I’m going to do whatever I can to help him."
Those with information on Koenig are encouraged to contact Detective Raymond Payette of the Vancouver PD at 604-717-2534.