One of the reasons Robert Hansen switched to his airplane was to minimize the risk of getting caught with a kidnap victim in his vehicle. (As we’ve seen, that didn’t always work.) He surmised — correctly — that the vehicle was a vulnerability; the woman could call attention to herself or even escape. Equally dangerous, the vehicle could break down. He could be stopped by the police. Someone could see them and think something was amiss. Robert Hansen devised a terror routine on Muldoon Road to ensure against those potentialities.
[Transcript lightly edited for clarity]
RH: I had planned on possibly that was a better way to do it [by using my airplane], but I didn’t know how to get the people from my home to the airplane. I didn’t like — there were times when I’d get up here along the Knik River and so forth, you know, wasn’t hardly a time when I was there [that] there was[n’t] other people driving up and down the road and this was always a very scary situation. I was always concerned about that.
If, while the girl was there, everything may go just as it was supposed to go — but what if she seen somebody coming close by or something or other and then start yelling or screaming or something like this here, this guy here is got me out here, he’s kidnapped me and so forth?
Hansen’s House & Muldoon (Google Maps)
FR: What was your plan if that happened? Did you have a plan?
RH: Well, that just scared the living daylights out of me. I didn’t know what to do. Now, that’s why the only thing I could think of is just jump in the airplane and just leave and get the hell out of there as fast as I could. Hope to hell that they would not have got the numbers off my airplane. I know that once that happened I was in a tremendous amount of trouble.
FR: What I’m wondering, though, is you even mentioned that when things didn’t go right out here you were kind of, you felt like you were right out in the middle for the whole world to see. And then down here by Seward, where you were just at a pull off along the road where there were mounds of gravel, and you were certainly, I’m sure, going as quick as you could.
RH: What I was going to do if something come up, sir, I honestly don’t know about that one. I hadn’t gone out and out planned to start shooting a bunch of people if a bunch of people showed up. No. I didn’t want to shoot anybody. It wasn’t the plan at all.
FR: But Cindy Paulson mentioned to us that you said to her something like if we get stopped by anybody, or troopers come, or anything like that…
RH: Oh, that was just pure…
FR: That was just talk?
RH: That was just talk to get her as scared as possible. The more scared she was [the better]. I think there was something like that said every time someone was put out. That was just [talk].
GF: What was your standard speech? What would you normally try to tell them to convince them not to?
RH: Oh, boy. I tried to stop, most generally coming out of town, pull onto Muldoon Road…
Muldoon Road & Centennial Park (top left), Headed Out of Town (Google Maps)
Right down here aways is — I don’t know if it’s an old fire station or, if it’s a State’s shed, or something now in here. They generally have a big mound of gravel in here.
Gravel Pit, Muldoon, Close-Up (Google Maps)
Ah, there is [also] an apartment building here, and some homes along here, some more apartment buildings, there’s one big apartment building down here. You can drive into the parking lot here, then more parking lots in between two of the big apartment buildings… Pull in here and just stop there, or I pull into the parking lot here, between the apartment buildings down here.
Raven Hill Apartments, Muldoon, Detail (Google Maps)
Well, six of one, half a dozen of another, I’ve used them both… Just stop there so the car’s not moving, so I don’t have to worry about her and the car both at one time. The car stops [at the] side of the road. Then try to control the situation from there.
FR: Is that when you pull out the gun?
RH: Yeah, I pull out the gun then and say hey, look now, you’re, I think [the] standard speech was, “Look, you’re a professional, you don’t get excited, you know there is some risk to what you’ve been doing. If you do exactly what I tell you, you’re not going to get hurt, you’re just going to count this off as a bad experience and be a little bit more careful next time who you are gonna proposition or go out with,” you know.
I try to act tough as I could to get them as scared as possible. Give that right away, even before I started talking [and] all that, reach over, you know, and more or less get my hand in the girl’s hair, you know, and hold that head back and put a gun in her face and get ’em to feel helpless, scared right there. Then tell them to turn around and face the seat on their knees on the floor board. That way they were down, they wouldn’t start anything there. I’m sure, maybe it’s not the same procedure for you, always try to get control of the situation so some things don’t start going bad.
GF: Sounds like you had a good way to work it.
RH: Now, that’s, maybe I’ve seen some cops and cop shows and TV. I don’t
FR: How would you usually bind people? You wouldn’t have their arms free?
RH: No, no generally, handcuffs, that’s the easiest, simplest, but you know, put their hands behind them, when they were sitting on their knees on the floor with their hands behind them, and also then they were down when I drove by. Nobody could see them. And then, once down like that, then give them a speech that, you know, try to impress on them over and over again if there was no problem whatsoever, that [if] they didn’t do anything foolish, tomorrow they could get on and get the shit out of here or just not do it anymore.
FR: Did you have to bind their feet too?
RH: No, I can’t recall at this time ever, ever tying anybody’s feet up, no. They were, I almost always got them on the floor board of the car. Mainly to, you know, I know an awful lot of people around town, and this and that, and I just didn’t want the idea that possibly maybe taking any more chances [that] somebody knows my car and sees me driving.
GF: Did you ever have anything go wrong right there, I mean just go bat shit on you? Were you able always to control the situation?
RH: I never had a time to there when things went bad there. I never had, I never even had a girl, the only time you [could] say it went half way bad was if I had a couple of them start crying and start out, oh, don’t kill me, don’t kill me, I haven’t done anything. I tried everything I can think of that they know that’s not going to happen. Ah, just do exactly what I tell you, I’m not going to hurt you. I never hurt none of them if the things went right. I admit I scared the hell out of them but that’s what I was trying to do.
FR: From here of course there were no stoplights either so you could go right back.
RH: I could just go, I had to make a stop, of course, you know that. [But] once that happened I knew, I mean, I purposely drove ten miles an hour slower than the speed limit anyplace I had to go and that’s one thing that really petrified me that, by god, something would go wrong or something.
You know, before I would go pick a girl up, I would go through, I would check my car over from one end to the other. I was always petrified that something was going to happen to the car and for some reason or another I was going to have a mechanical failure, that I was going to be forced to stop along the road and then what the hell would I do? I’d do everything I could think of so I didn’t have a problem.
RH = Robert Hansen; FR = Frank Rothschild; GF = Glenn Flothe
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