Walter J. Gilmour: Facing a New Decade of Homicides

In this installment, Walter talks about the escalation of terror that struck the women of Anchorage as the decade of the ’80s began. It was during this decade that Robert Hansen descended to his most unhinged, with woman after woman disappearing from the streets of Anchorage. The hope was that it wouldn’t take another decade to solve these mysteries.


Walter J. Gilmour

“By the time we got to the summer of 1980, we knew we were into an entirely new ballgame, though we weren’t exactly sure what game we were playing, or by whose rules. That fateful summer, two bodies were discovered, though they were found miles apart and there seemed to be nothing connecting them.

“On the 17th of July, powerline workers found the decomposed remains of a woman who to this day is unidentified. Her distinguishing feature was her long black hair and, because her body was found near Eklutna, north of Anchorage, she has been called ‘Eklutna Annie’ ever since. The forensic examination indicated she had been dead for about a year.

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Eklutna Annie

“Just days later, the body of a young woman was found in a gravel pit near Seward, on the Kenai peninsula. The investigator in this case was John Lucking, an experienced investigator who also happens to be a friend of mine. Lucking is the kind of guy who’s too good looking to be a cop, but he has the body of a fullback, so he is anyway. He’s been known to cause waitresses to spill drinks by his charm and presence alone, but in this case, charm and good looks weren’t enough.

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John Lucking w/ Hansen’s maps (1982)

“Lucking was called to the scene of an apparent homicide by the local authorities. When he got to the site in a remote area off the highway, he was told that a bear had been in the vicinity. The bear was gone when he got there, but it was evident that one was active in the area: portions of the victim’s body had been eaten by the hungry omnivore. As Lucking began to conduct his scene investigation, however, the bear returned. That was not a good sign.”


Purchase Butcher, Baker

Order my latest book, “What Happened In Craig,” HERE and HERE, true crime on Epicenter Press about Alaska’s Worst Unsolved Mass Murder.

Craig

Walter J. Gilmour: Hansen Interviewed After Third Party Report

In this installment, Walter Gilmour talks about the follow-up interview of Bob Hansen conducted by Investigator Sam Bernard. From the police perspective, they were doing things by the book. In this case, though, the chapters in the third party reporting system got slightly out of whack.

Walter J. Gilmour

“While he awaited word from the victim, Barnard interviewed Hansen. In that October 14, 1975 interview, Hansen denied abducting or raping any woman on the 25th of September. In fact, he told an entirely different story.

“According to Hansen, all he knew anything about was a ‘dark haired girl’ who he had met at the Kit Kat Club in Anchorage the previous summer, when his wife was out of town. He said they had struck up an acquaintance and she had agreed to go to her place for sex. As they drove to her residence, the girl told him it was going to cost $100.

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Kit Kat Club, 1977 (courtesy Lynn McConnell photographs and papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage — 1977)

“I became upset,” he said. ‘And decided to drive the dancer back to the Kit Kat Club. She got mad, started saying obscene things and c-calling me names. But I didn’t do nothin’ to her…”

“Do you own a pistol, like the one the victim described?” he was asked.

“I’m a convicted felon. I can’t own a gun… Besides, I-I was in Seward th-that day, fi-fishing.”

“In the typically zany sequence that seemed to dog us to Hansen’s benefit, two days after Barnard talked to Hansen, he got a call from Sheryl Messer. The rape victim had positively identified the photograph as that of her assailant. Messer also said the dancer still refused to talk directly to the police out of fear for her life. The case was put on hold and, if we got lucky later on, would end up in an archive somewhere in Juneau, the state capital.”


A couple of things to notice here. The first is that, in the face of third party reporting, Hansen played the naif, like he was the dumbest of the dumb, fresh off an Iowa farm. Why you know, I was talking to this here girl in that there club and she said she wanted to take me home. I thought it was just cuz she liked me and wanted to screw my brains out. (You can supply your own midwest twang.)

Second, as part of his alibi Hansen places himself in Seward. In Seward, where not one but two women disappeared during his visits to that remote coastal town: Megan Emerick and Mary Thill. In this case, the third party reporting system managed to eke something unintended out of the ever elusive baker.

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Robert Hansen Police Lineup Photo


Purchase Butcher, Baker

Order my latest book, “What Happened In Craig,” HERE and HERE, true crime on Epicenter Press about Alaska’s Worst Unsolved Mass Murder.

Craig