Slowly, slowly, slowly… The trooper’s investigation of Robert Hansen was reaching critical mass. For one, the witnesses were starting to fall into place. Other pieces would soon follow. Enough so that Flothe was ready for prosecutors to get involved.
The call to D.A. Pat Doogan was a definite “tell,” although it also signaled Flothe’s frustration with the local D.A. — Doogan was in Fairbanks, not Anchorage — because the local D.A. kept expressing doubts about the case against Hansen and, in that spirit, seemed to demand a near-endless string of “more evidence.”
Not an easy thing to live with when, as a cop, you know that Hansen can kill again at any minute.
But if that’s what they wanted…
Bennet and Yount were witnesses to Cindy Paulson’s miraculous escape at Merrill Field, Bennet being the security guard who identified Hansen’s plane and Yount being the Good Samaritan who rescued Cindy in his truck as she raced away from her would-be killer. Ward Hulbert, on the other hand, was part of a group of cabin owners who were tired of being burglarized and decided to take action.
“There were several cabins broken into,” said the man. “Mine, the doc’s, another guy’s. And every single one of them was broken into by someone in an airplane. This was in the wintertime, see, and it left some ski marks out there, going right up to the cabins. Well, when the troopers shut down our cases, we decided we were going to find that airplane ourselves, ‘cause to tell you the truth, we were pissed.”
The men divvied up all the airports in and around the Anchorage area: Merrill Field, Lake Hood, Birchwood, Hillside, Inlet, Eagle River. They had one thing going for them: The ski on the suspect aircraft was quite unusual. The skegs looked like they were either homemade or some type of a conversion done for a Super Cub.
“Now we searched and searched,” said the mountain of a man, “and of all the planes we looked at, only one plane matched the description.”
Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”
9-30-83: Sergeant Flothe consults with D.A. Pat Doogan reference probable cause for search warrants regarding PAULSEN, GOULDING and MORROW cases.
Sergeant Flothe has reviewed HEPPEARD, [TROOPER’S DAUGHTER], 1975 unidentified victim, CHRISTI HAYES, SHERRY MORROW, PAULA GOULDING, CINDY PAULSEN, and other missing person case reports and HANSEN background information.
10-6-80 to 10-13-83: LOUIS BENNET, ROBERT YOUNT, and other witnesses reference PAULSEN case reinterviewed by A.S.T. on tape.
10-10-83: WARD HULBERT interviewed reference theft and airplane ski tracks traced to HANSEN’s Supercub airplane. A.S.T. subsequently learns of PACE and ROWLAND burglaries.
Purchase Butcher, Baker