Backstory: Sister Reports Sue Luna Missing

Because troopers had already found missing dancers along the Knik River, it was worth scouring the area to see if there were more. They knew of at least one other dancer who had disappeared: Sue Luna. The circumstances of her disappearance matched those of other dancers, who were not just missing but recently found, dead, along the banks of the Knik. If they found Sue Luna, they reasoned, that’s where she would be. She would not be the only one.


“Affiant has reviewed Anchorage Police Department report number 82-36211, which states that on May 30, 1982, Roberta Moorehead reported to Officer Russell that her sister, Sue Luna, a caucasian female, age 23, approximately 5’2” tall, approximately 120 pounds, with light brown hair and blue eyes, was missing.

“Moorehead told Officer Russell that she had arranged to pick up Luna at her apartment at the Sleeping Lady Apartments on May 27, 1982, and spend the weekend with her, but when Moorehead went to the apartment, her sister was not there, and Moorehead was informed by her sister’s roommate that she had not been seen since May 26th.

Sue Luna
Sue Luna (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

“Officer Turney of the Anchorage Police Department interviewed Robin Price, who stated that she was Sue Luna’s roommate at the Sleeping Lady, and that she and Luna were working as dancers at the Good Times Bar in Anchorage, on the 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift. Price said that on Tuesday, May 25th, 1982, Luna told Price that she had made a date to meet an unidentified male Luna had met recently at the Good Times. Luna was to meet the man the following day at Alice’s 210 Restaurant to have sex with him for an hour for $300.00. [1]

Sue Luna

“Price stated that she last saw Luna at about noon on Wednesday, May 26th, 1982, when Luna left their apartment in a taxi cab to keep this date. Price stated that Luna was wearing a white ski jacket with red and black trim, blue jeans, silver sandals with high heels, one gold ring, and a digital type watch with a gold expanding band when last seen. Price said Luna did not appear for work that day and she had not seen her since.

“As of this date the whereabouts of Sue Luna are still unknown to affiant.”

Source: Affidavit for Search Warrant of Robert Hansen’s Property, Sgt. Glenn Flothe, Alaska State Troopers


[1] It’s worth noting that Hansen also met Sherry Morrow at Alice’s 210 Cafe, six months before Sue Luna went missing. Both were quoted the same inflated price: $300.00 for sex. Both had foolishly taken him up on the offer.


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The Arrest of Robert C. Hansen: A Troika of Action

With a troika of near-simultaneous actions, the pace of discovery was now quickening. Or, rather, the attempt at discovery. The Knik River search was a disappointment of sorts — the idea that there were additional women to be found was more than tantalizing. After talking to Officer Baker from A.P.D., about Cindy Paulson, Flothe immediatelty knew something else: he had a living witness. He had to go to the source.

On paper, it seems like the troika came together quickly. It didn’t. Sgt. Flothe spent several days furrowing over Cindy’s whereabouts.

“Flothe was realistic about his mission. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy to find her. The street is a place that swallows people whole, where rumors are worth more than the truth, a place with its own rules and regulations. If he was lucky, Cindy was still in town, working at one of the topless clubs or massage parlors. Even then, he couldn’t be sure that those who knew her would tell him where to find her.

His preliminary investigation gave him cause to worry. The word was that Cindy had fled the state and gone back home to Seattle. That meant he would have to leave Alaska to find her, a more daunting task.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.” (Copyright Leland E. Hale and the Estate of Walter J. Gilmour)


9-17-83: Knik River search for additional bodies – negative results.

Affiant has reviewed Anchorage Police Department report number “82-36211”, which states that on May 30, 1982, Roberta Moorehead reported that her sister, Sue Luna, was missing. As of this date the whereabouts of Sue Luna are still unknown to affiant.

Troika

9-22-83: Sergeant Flothe interview with Officer Gregg Baker, A.P.D. reference PAULSEN case.

9-27-83: Sergeant Flothe locates, interviews CINDY PAULSEN.

Source: Sequence of Events Leading to Arrest of Robert C. Hansen, 1/31/84, Sgt. Glenn Flothe (“Ruff Copy”)


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The Arrest of Robert Hansen: His Possessions & Obsessions

This phase was all about Hansen’s possessions. The places (and things) where troopers were most likely to find him. But then there is something else. The obsessions.

Two sentences was all it got. Ten words, almost casually dropped. Ending with, “Reports to follow.” (Click for sample) These are among the most tantalizing words in Flothe’s narrative. What’s in those reports? We hang on edge.

Meanwhile, Flothe and Haugsven were chasing locations with a car and a camera. They were on the Hansen loop, a scarily compact circuit, documenting Robert Hansen’s haunts and his possessions. They found the things of middle class life in Alaska — even the airplane, it turns out — in a State with the highest per capita airplane ownership in the United States.


9-16-83: HANSEN residence photographed by Sergeant Flothe and Sergeant Haugsven. Residence accurate in location and description to PAULSEN statement.

Iowa advises of HANSEN’s 1961 Arson conviction. Reports to follow.

Source: Sequence of Events Leading to Arrest of Robert C. Hansen, 1/31/84, Sgt. Glenn Flothe (“Ruff Copy”)


More details were found in Sgt. Flothe’s affidavit. No question, they were on the hunt, in what can be described as the “down and dirty” phase.

“On September 16, 1983, affiant drove to 7223 Old Harbor Street in Anchorage, and took photographs of the residence at the address from the street. Copies of these photographs are attached hereto and incorporated as Exhibit #2.

Possessions
Hansen’s House, Old Harbor Road (copyright Leland E. Hale)

“On September 16, 1983, affiant drove to Merrill Field, Anchorage, and took several photographs of a blue and white Super Cub aircraft with tail number N3089Z, and a gold Chevrolet pickup, Alaska license number 0757BN. Copies of these photographs are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit #3.

Possessions
Robert Hansen’s Super Cub (Anchorage Times)

“On September 16, 1983, affiant drove to the vicinity of 828 East 9th Avenue in Anchorage, and took an exterior photograph of Hansen’s bakery. A copy of this photograph is attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit #4.”

Possessions
Former Site of Hansen’s Bakery — 9th Avenue View (Google Streetview; illustration, Leland E. Hale)

Source: Affidavit for Search Warrant of Robert Hansen’s Property, Sgt. Glenn Flothe, Alaska State Troopers


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The Arrest of Robert C. Hansen: Background Investigation Pays Off

9-15-83: Sergeant Flothe and Sergeant Haugsven photograph HANSEN Bakery & airplane. Sergeant Barnard, Fairbanks, advises of 1975 kidnapping case involving HANSEN and Topless Dancer. Sergeant Flothe requests DEWAYNE BURGESS, HANSEN’s Probation Officer, to furnish background information on HANSEN.

Source: Sequence of Events Leading to Arrest of Robert C. Hansen, 1/31/84, Sgt. Glenn Flothe (“Ruff Copy”)


As momentous as this sounds — and it was momentous — the case against Robert Hansen was still bumping along at a fast-crawl. Sergeant Stauber, who had been assigned to the Goulding Homicide, was on leave from 9-15-83 to 9-23-83. Sgt. Haugsven, who had the Sherry Morrow Homicide, returned from leave on 9-15-83. That these two homicides were treated separately was problematic. But with Haugsven back, Flothe now had a fellow traveller to share the excitement of his discoveries. The background investigation was starting to pay off.

And, in that, troopers started to see the meandering road their predecessor’s had been forced to travel. More than that, they started to see how past investigations had been thwarted. For sure, it was a shared responsibility. But some of the people responsible for overseeing Robert Hansen were clueless (helpless?), even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Background
Former Site of Hansen’s Bakery — 9th Avenue View (Google Streetview; illustration, Leland E. Hale)

Background
Robert Hansen’s Super Cub (Anchorage Times)

Background: News From Sergeant Sam Bernard, Fairbanks

Background: Outcome of the 1975 Kidnapping Case

“No charges were filed against Hansen [in the 1975 kidnapping], nor could there be. The DA wasn’t ready to let innuendo become a probable cause for arrest. Barnard didn’t give up. He contacted Dewayne Burgess, Hansen’s parole officer, hoping that he’d take some action to revoke Hansen’s parole. But Burgess didn’t do a thing, Barnard said. Not one thing.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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The Arrest of Robert C. Hansen: Sgt. Glenn Flothe Checks the Records

9-7-83: Sergeant Flothe assigned to assist Sergeant Stauber and Sergeant Haugsven.

9-13-83: Sergeant Flothe reads PAULSEN case – initiates extensive background investigation on ROBERT C. HANSEN – obtains Parole-Probation records from archives in Juneau, A.S.T. and A.P.D. case files regarding past offenses, correspon- dence to Iowa regarding Arson arrest, various police contacts, motor vehicle accidents, work history, psychiatric court testimony, etc.

9-14-83: Sergeant Flothe talks to Bill Dennis reference PAULSEN case.

Source: Sequence of Events Leading to Arrest of Robert C. Hansen, 1/31/84, Sgt. Glenn Flothe (“Ruff Copy”)


Bringing Sgt. Glenn Flothe onto the “missing dancers” case was ultimately very fortuitious. He immediately saw the “break” that authorities had been waiting for. Except that… At the time it wasn’t universally seen as the break that it was.

There were some among the Alaska State Troopers who took Flothe’s insight seriously — Maj. Walter Gilmour among them — but old habits die hard. The skepticism of the Anchorage Police could not help but creep into A.S.T. thinking. That wasn’t the only problem.

Police agencies in Alaska were, at the time, engaged in a changeover to a digital records system. A good thing for the future, but a pain during the transition: criminal records that Sgt. Flothe would need to built a complete picture of Hansen’s criminal record were temporarily unavailable. Thankfully, he had living memories to fall back on. The living memories of troopers who’d come across Robert Hansen before. The world’s original computers would not fail him.


Records
Walter Gilmour and Lt. John Lucking, examining Robert Hansen’s flight map, showing kill sites on the Knik River (1984, courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

“By Tuesday afternoon, Major Gilmour had heard that Flothe was telling other investigators about his suspicions. So he stuck his nose into Flothe’s office. He was only being conversational when he asked the sergeant how he was doing in his new assignment, but Flothe figured something was up. It wasn’t every day that a major stuck his nose in his office.

“Just came across something that looks interesting.”

“Oh yeah?” Gilmour replied. “What’d you find?”

“A gal named [Cindy Paulson] came to Anchorage P.D. with a story about how some guy kidnapped her at gunpoint, put her in handcuffs, took her to his house and raped her. Just like in the Ted Bundy case. And listen to this: When he finished raping her, he tried to take her to a cabin in his airplane. The girl was absolutely certain he would kill her.”

“And she’s identified a suspect?”

“Yessir. A guy named Robert Hansen.”

“…If this is the same Robert Hansen, he’s got arrest records as long as the Aleutian Chain. And it ain’t just larceny in a building. He’s been messing with girls in this town since he got here, the dimple-dicked little shit.”

“Are you telling me that…?”

“What I’m telling you is that Hansen is your man. You’re absolutely right, Glenn, your assessment is right on target. The sonofabitch is a killer. A little chicken killer.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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The Arrest of Robert C. Hansen: Paula Goulding’s Body Found

9-02-83: PAULA GOULDING’s body found Knik River — assigned to Sergeant Stauber. .223 caliber shell casing found near grave. Area accessible generally by riverboat, aircraft. Victim fully clothed in shallow grave. Victim reported missing on 4-25-83. Dancer at Bush Company.

Source: Sequence of Events Leading to Arrest of Robert C. Hansen, 1/31/84, Sgt. Glenn Flothe (“Ruff Copy”)

Body Found
Paula Goulding (Alaska State Troopers)


With Paula Goulding’s body found along the Knik River — almost a year to the day after Sherry Morrow’s body was found nearby — there came a turning point in the “case of the missing dancers.” No longer could authorities claim that there wasn’t “some psycho knocking off girls.”

It wasn’t just that bodies were found; there was also the inconvenient truth presented by Cindy Paulson, a living, breathing witness to Hansen’s depravity. At this point in the investigation, however, it is important to stress that Cindy Paulson’s value was still in the “future.” She was, after all, a prostitute. Anchorage Police didn’t seem to take her seriously.

“[Cindy Paulson] was treated roughly at the police station. The investigators thought she was inventing a story and wanted her to take a polygraph test. She refused. What was the use? They didn’t believe her anyway. To make matters worse, the officers hadn’t seized any evidence at Hansen’s house, the scene of the alleged crime. They hadn’t even taken any photographs.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


We’ve chronicled the life and death of Paula Goulding in several of our past posts. They are worth re-reading now, as they add context to this pivotal development in the unmasking of Robert Hansen.


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The Arrest of Robert C. Hansen: Cindy Paulson in Hindsight

This blog has explicitly recognized the importance of Cindy Paulson in blowing the Robert Hansen case wide open. We have, in fact, dedicated 22 posts to Cindy, more than any other single person involved in this case (although Sgt. Glenn Flothe is there throughout). We do this, of course, with the benefit of hindsight. In the real world, that “hindsight” took a while to develop. Not too long, mind you. But long enough for Hansen to have struck again, had he not been so freaked out about what had gone down with Cindy.

Hindsight
Cindy Paulson

In the entries below, Sgt. Glenn Flothe chronicles the day-to-day of the “missing dancers” investigation. We call them “missing dancers” because, before Cindy, that’s all the police had. Dancers who had suddenly gone missing.

These entries record the rhythm of police work — and how one discovery leads to the next. A new piece of information surfaces. A trooper follows up on it. Two weeks later, he takes a two week vacation. It takes more than a month for him to receive the case file from another agency. Even so, Sergeant Haugsven’s earliest steps show that he takes the Cindy Paulson information seriously.

He looks for the cabin that Hansen mentioned to Cindy. He starts keeping an eye on Hansen’s airplane flights. These small steps will soon pay off. These small steps began to provide “hindsight” into the biggest serial-murder case in Alaska history.


6-13-83: CINDY PAULSEN reports rape-kidnapping to Officer Baker and later Investigator Dennis.

6-16-83: A.P.D. Investigator Maxine Farrell relates PAULSEN incident to Lyle Haugsven – A.S.T. Haugsven contacts Investigator Dennis and subsequently follows investigation.

7-01-83 to 7-17-83: Sergeant Haugsven on leave.

7-01-83 to 8-12-83: Sergeant Flothe on leave.

7-17-83: Sergeant Haugsven returns.

7-22-83: Sergeant Haugsven attempts to locate cabin owned by HANSEN — negative results.

7-25-83: Sergeant Haugsven receives a copy of PAULSEN case from A.P.D. Officer Baker via Sergeant Stogsdill.

7-27-83: Sergeant Haugsven initiates Merrill Tower reporting of HANSEN’s flights.

8-12-83: Sergeant Flothe returns from leave.

8-20-83 to 9-05-83: Sergeant Flothe in Southeast Alaska working INVESTOR case.

8-27-83 to 9-14-83: Sergeant Haugsven on leave.

Source: Sequence of Events Leading to Arrest of Robert C. Hansen, 1/31/84, Sgt. Glenn Flothe (“Ruff Copy”)


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Backstory: Sherry Morrow’s Good Friend Lisa

If you wanted to meet someone in downtown Anchorage and not look out of place, Alice’s 210 Cafe was the perfect spot. In its day, it was the crossroads of Anchorage, the great equalizer run by a woman, Marge Dube, whose mission in life was “making good food and feeding everyone.” (1) When Sherry’s friend Lisa Nyland learned she was to meet someone there for a professional photography session, she thought nothing of it. Alice’s 210 belonged to everyone; even, it turned out, Robert Hansen.


“Sergeant Haugsven informed affiant [Sgt. Glenn Flothe] that he had interviewed Lisa Nyland, who stated that Sherry Morrow had stayed at Nyland’s residence on the night before her disappearance, and that Morrow had told Nyland on the day before her disappearance, Monday, November 16, 1981, that Morrow had an appointment with an unidentified man the following day at Alice’s 210 Restaurant (sic) at noon, and that the man had offered Morrow $300.00 to meet him there and allow him to take pictures of her.”

Lisa
Former Site of Alice’s 210 Cafe, Downtown Anchorage (Google Maps; illustration Leland E. Hale)

Many will remember the ’70s, when Marge Dube ran Alice’s 210 Cafe on Fifth Avenue… Many colorful people from all walks of life ate there — street people, prostitutes, topless dancers, cab drivers, cops, pilots, politicians, judges and others. (Anchorage Daily News, December 2001)

“Nyland further stated that the following morning she awoke at approximately 11:30 am, and found Morrow had left the residence, but had left a note for Nyland stating that she had gone to ‘do that photo layout.’ Nyland said that she never saw Morrow again. Nyland also said that Morrow had told her she met the man who offered the money for photos only a few days before.”

Source: Affidavit for Search Warrant of Robert Hansen’s Property, Sgt. Glenn Flothe, Alaska State Troopers


(1) Marge Dube was a quintessential Alaska character. According to her 2001 obituary, “she often fed people who couldn’t pay… At her request, no memorial service will be held. Friends are asked to please stop smoking, as Marge did during the last three years of her life, after having smoked 62 years… Her family added, ‘She will be placed in a porcelain vase that was a gift to her from the family of a KLM pilot whose life she saved by breaking up a mugging.’ In lieu of flowers, she asked that friends leave food out to feed the ravens.” (Anchorage Daily News, December 2001)


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Backstory: What the Hunters Found

It was perhaps lucky that Sherry Morrow’s body was found by two off-duty cops. They knew exactly what to do. One surmises, however, that any Alaskan, coming across that same, grim reality, would have done the same when they found her remains: report it to the nearest Trooper Detachment.


“Affiant [Sgt. Glenn Flothe] has been further informed by Sergeant Haugsven that he interviewed the persons who found the body, two off-duty police officers with the Anchorage Police Department, Officers Holloway and Daily, who informed him that they had come to the area by riverboat to hunt, and had found the gravesite accidentally on the evening of September 12, 1982, and had at daylight reported their finding to the Palmer State Troopers.

Found
Detail: Hansen’s Map – Knik River Sites (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

#14 — Sherry Morrow (Knik River)

Found
Knik River Grave (courtesy Anchorage Times)


“Affiant has also been informed by Sergeant Haugsven that the body was positively identified as that of Sherry Morrow by Pathologist Dr. George Lindholm through comparison of the body’s teeth with dental records of Sherry Morrow provided by her former dentist from Washington State.

“Affiant has also been informed by Sergeant Haugsven that he attended the autopsy of Sherry Morrow, conducted by Dr. Lindholm, and that Dr. Lindholm determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound, and that Dr. Lindholm found in the victim’s chest cavity pieces of copper jacketed bullet fragments, which were seized by Sergeant Haugsven.

“Sergeant Haugsven stated he had reinterviewed Dale Yonkoske who stated that he had not seen Morrow since he reported her disappearance to A.P.D. in 1981. He also told Haugsven that Morrow had been working as a waitress and dancer at the Wild Cherry.

“Sergeant Haugsven informed affiant that he had been told by Yonkoske that Morrow always wore a gold necklace with a gold arrowhead pendant that he had given her as a gift. Haugsven told affiant that no such necklace had been found in the gravesite or anywhere near it.”

Source: Affidavit for Search Warrant of Robert Hansen’s Property, Sgt. Glenn Flothe, Alaska State Troopers


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Backstory: Sherry Morrow Reported Missing

Street life is a fluid through which restless souls wander. Sometimes, for a minute or two, its citizens connect; sometimes they become friends. Sherry Morrow’s backstory is instructive: if it can be said that a friend is someone who misses you when you’re gone, then Sherry Morrow had friends. One of them went to the police and reported her missing. Missing and presumed dead.

Missing
Fourth Avenue, Downtown Anchorage


“On November 23, 1981, Dale Yonkoske reported to A.P.D. that his girlfriend, Sherry Morrow, was missing. Yonkoske told Officer Russell that Morrow was 23 years of age, with light brown hair and blue eyes, approximately 5’6” tall, approximately 125 pounds, and that he last saw her at approximately 11:30 pm, on Monday, November 16, 1981, when he dropped her off at the Wild Cherry Bar on East 4th Avenue.

“He stated that she was to meet a girlfriend named Lisa, stay the night with Lisa, and go to a doctor’s appointment the next day. Yonkoske also stated that he had talked to Lisa, who had told him Morrow stayed the night at Lisa’s house, but left the next day and was not seen after that. Yonkoske stated he had checked with Morrow’s doctor, and Morrow did not show up for her appointment on November 17. Yonkoske also told Officer Russell that when he last saw Morrow she was wearing silver wire frame glasses, blue jeans, and a baby blue ski jacket with darker blue trim on the shoulders.

Missing
(Courtesy Anchorage Times)


“Affiant {Sgt. Glenn Flothe] has been informed by Alaska State Trooper Sergeant Lyle Haugsven that on September 12, 1982, Haugsven was notified that a human body had been discovered in a shallow grave on the north shore of the Knik River approximately 25 miles north of Anchorage.

“On 9/13/82, Sergeant Haugsven went immediately to the scene and observed the decomposed remains of a female victim in a shallow grave on a gravel sandbar in an area accessible by vehicle, river boat or small aircraft.

“Haugsven observed the body to be fully clothed in blue jeans, baby blue ski jacket with darker blue trim on the shoulders, sweater, panties and bra. He also observed that an Ace elastic bandage was wrapped around the victim’s head and face from forehead to nose secured with metal clips.

Missing
(Courtesy Anchorage Times)

“Sergeant Haugsven also observed and seized a single .223 caliber cartridge case from the grave. Haugsven also observed that the victim was not wearing shoes or boots, but that a pair of moon boots were also in the grave. A metal key marked with the number 18 was found near the grave. This key remains unidentified as of October 25, 1983. No identification or purse was found in or near the grave.”

Missing
Sample Key (not the actual item)

Source: Affidavit for Search Warrant of Robert Hansen’s Property, Sgt. Glenn Flothe, Alaska State Troopers


Purchase Butcher, Baker