Robert Hansen took elaborate precautions to prevent Cindy Paulson from escaping. Like many a man before him, he wanted to sleep after having sex. Hansen’s drowsiness had more complex origins, though: because he was bipolar, he often went days without sleep. He had to sleep. But doing so risked setting Cindy Paulson free to roam the streets with a terrible tale to tell. His solution? Chain her to a post.
Purchase Butcher, Baker
FLOTHE: How did he tie you to the pole?
CINDY: ‘Cause there was little prongs sticking out of the wall that you could screw in. You know like when you hang a plant through the ceiling? It had one of them things and screwed it in.
FLOTHE: To the post?
CINDY: Yep. They [Anchorage Police] said they went there and they couldn’t see it but I don’t think they looked, ‘cause it was there.
FLOTHE: It was like a thing you hang plants from…
CINDY: Uh huh.
FLOTHE: Um hmm.
CINDY: Like one of those things you screw in the wall.
FLOTHE: Was that on the post or on the wall?
CINDY: It was on the post…
FLOTHE: Oh, on the post.
CINDY: Right up here (points to diagram). And then there was a bullet hole straight down, almost on the bottom. You couldn’t see it if you weren’t laying there.
FLOTHE: OK. How low to the floor was the bullet hole?
CINDY: About two inches.
FLOTHE: OK. And how low to the floor was this…
CINDY: More than halfway up the post.
FLOTHE: How many feet would you say that was?
CINDY: About four feet, five feet.
FLOTHE: What color was that?
FLOTHE: Silver color?
FLOTHE: How did he chain you up? Describe it the best you can.
CINDY: He wrapped the chains… OK, I was handcuffed…
FLOTHE: Um hmm.
CINDY: …And as he was taking the rope off, he put the chains on me. Wrapped the chains over here, four times… (points to coffee table diagram)
FLOTHE Um hmm.
CINDY: … And tied it in a way so if I would move, it would choke me.
FLOTHE: So the chain goes around your neck. And then where did the chain go from there?
CINDY: To the wall.
FLOTHE: You say wall but there’s a post here…
CINDY: To the post. Yeah, to the post.
Couch, Post and Pool Table, Hansen’s Den (courtesy Alaska State Troopers; illustration, Leland E. Hale)
FLOTHE: OK. Did it go up to that hook or around the post?
CINDY: Up to the hook.
CINDY: And it was padlocked on the hook.
FLOTHE: Oh, it was on padlocked on the hook.
FLOTHE: What did the padlock look like?
CINDY: Like a Masterlock. Regular padlock.
FLOTHE: What color was it?
FLOTHE: OK. How were you handcuffed? In the front or the back?
CINDY: In the front.
FLOTHE: OK. And did he tie your feet?
FLOTHE: So what you had then was a chain around your neck…
FLOTHE: …up to the post at the hook and padlocked. And you’re handcuffed in front.
FLOTHE: Did you have your clothes on at that time?
FLOTHE: Where were your clothes at that time?
CINDY: Sitting in the chair.
FLOTHE: Sitting in the chair. OK. What happened then?
CINDY: And then I stayed there for five hours (sobs).
FLOTHE: Did he leave the lights on?
CINDY: The one bathroom light was on.
FLOTHE: What did he do?
CINDY: Slept on his couch.
FLOTHE: Did he say anything to you after he chained you up?
CINDY: That he was tired ‘cause he hadn’t slept in so long. And don’t wake him up, ‘cause he’ll be mad.
FLOTHE: When he was having sexual relations with you over here on the rug, prior to being chained to the post, what did he do with the gun?
CINDY: Sitting on the coffee table.
FLOTHE: And that’s the coffee table over here by the rug?
CINDY: Yep. Right over by the stuffed fish.
FLOTHE: OK. By the stuffed fish on the coffee table or on the wall?
CINDY: There was one laying on the coffee table. There was stuffed things everywhere.