Robert Hansen: “I Worked on the North Slope”

If ever there was a ’70’s lie, Hansen telling the hookers that he worked on the North Slope was it. The transient, footloose man, here today, gone tomorrow — that was the image Hansen wanted to cultivate. He even had a speech, that went something like this: “Don’t bother reporting me; I’ll be out of Alaska sooner than you can get the words out. And, besides, even if you manage to tell the cops, my buddy will give me an alibi. It will be our word against yours. And you? You’re nothing but a prostitute.”

Yeah, it worked. Or it did till he met Cindy Paulson.

Robert Hansen North Slope (video + audio from confession)

Arrest of Robert Hansen: Finding Murphy

Whatever the truth of Cindy Paulson, and her readiness to come in from the cold, she wasn’t enough to snap the trap on Robert Hansen. Sgt. Flothe had a felt need to gather more witnesses from the long line of women whom Baker Bob had victimized. In retrospect, “finding Murphy” was an apt metaphor for the process of digging, pleading and turning every rock to find the women who could give witness to Robert Hansen’s savage acts against women.


2/10/84: Sergeant FLOTHE met with Officer GENTILE of the Anchorage Police Department with regards to locating previous HANSEN rape victim, M. MURPHY. Contacts with street prostitutes are made with regards to locating MURPHY.

“Later that same day, Flothe decided to write a letter to Robyn Patterson, asking if she would be willing to come testify against Hansen. Even though she was married now, had gone to college and started a new life, a letter soon came back saying that she, too, was willing to testify against Robert Hansen. It had been more than twelve years. She was thirty, a different person. But, yes, she would do anything she could to put this man in jail. It was where he belonged and, as far as she was concerned, had belonged for some time.”

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

2/11/84: Sergeant FLOTHE receives phone call from street informant that advises M. MURPHY could be contacted at given phone number. M. MURPHY contacted and appointment made for following day at Flippers on Bragaw.

2/14/84: Sergeant FLOTHE and Sergeant HAUGSVEN met with victim, M. MURPHY, at Flippers on Bragaw. MURPHY advises that she is willing to accompany Sergeants FLOTHE and HAUGSVEN to AST for interview. Witness subsequently interviewed at AST Headquarters with regards to HANSEN kidnapping her in the fall of 1972.

Anchorage in the ’70’s (Stephen Cysewski)

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Arrest of Robert Hansen: The Rescue of Cindy Paulson, Pt. II

In Part One, we talked about the party house on Government Hill in Anchorage, where Cindy Paulson had beckoned Sgt. Flothe to meet her. In this installment, we reveal the details of that rescue, where Flothe was intent on rescuing Cindy from a situation that was fraught with anxiety, fear and, ultimately, a small portion of satisfaction. This was one rescue that ended well. That in itself was a small triumph.

Cindy Paulson

They found the room number Cindy gave them and knocked. No answer. “She knows we’re coming,” Flothe muttered. He knocked again. He wasn’t about to barge in. The guy might have a gun. A second later, Cindy came to the door, holding a bathrobe to her chest for cover.

“Come with me,” she said to Flothe, “I gotta talk to you real quick.” She led him to the bathroom, which was the next door over. Cindy closed the door behind them.

“I gotta get out of here,” she said. “Get me out right now.”

As a precaution, Flothe had already called the safe house. “I think Cindy’s ready. Don’t be surprised if we show up in the next hour.” Cindy had already met the woman who lived there, and seemed to like her. Now Flothe had to find out if she was really ready.

“If you go to this place, you’re gonna have to do as they tell you. You can’t be leaving and coming and going and visiting your girlfriends in the street and all that bullshit.”

“I know.”

“Where’s your stuff?”

“It’s in the room.”

When they walked out of the bathroom, the pimp was standing outside in a pair of jockey shorts. He looked angry. Cindy headed to the room, but froze as he spoke.

“What’s you doin’ witch my lady?” he said.

“We’re with the Alaska State Troopers,” Flothe told him, “she wants to go and she’s coming with us. Period.”

Cindy slipped on her rabbit jacket, draped her clothes over one arm, and looking slightly scruffy, put her free arm around Flothe’s waist as they walked out. She seemed proud of her police escort.

The pimp, meanwhile, watched implacably as Kitty left. She never looked back. The troopers drove her straight to the safe house.

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Butcher, Baker Again Available In Paperback

A big shout out to Open Road for the February 2018 reprint of “Butcher, Baker.” I’m so pleased that it is once more available as a paperback (as well as an Ebook). I recommend that you buy both. You can get your copy from Amazon. Or order it from your favorite local bookstore!

Butcher, Baker
Butcher, Baker, 2018, Open Road

Arrest of Robert Hansen: Failure Upon Failure

Not everything goes according to plan. That was certainly true at the end of January, 1984, a stretch filled with what looked like one failure after another. Three witnesses, who could tie Robert Hansen to weapons he tried to ditch after Cindy Paulson’s escape, couldn’t reach consensus as to which of the weapons in their possession belonged to Hansen. And then there was Hansen lawyer Fred Dewey’s failure to show for an evidence review with Anchorage D.A. Frank Rothschid.

If there was a ray of sunshine, it was hearing from a Hansen associate about the baker’s possible involvement in the disappearances of two young women in Seward, back in the 70’s, when both were students at the Seward Skill Center (now called the Alaska Vocational Technical Center). Megan Emerick disappeared in 1972. Mary Thill had gone missing three years later. The news was tantalizing, but hard to process: Hansen’s maps showed three X marks in Seward’s Resurrection Bay. There was a fair chance that, short of a Hansen confession, these two disappearances would also end up in the failure column.

Would the sum be an epic failure? It was too early to tell.

1/25/84: Sergeant FLOTHE and Sergeant HAUGSVEN interviewed JOHN T. CASEY, previous associate of ROBERT HANSEN that believes HANSEN may be involved in the disappearance of the two girls from Seward. CASEY’s belief is based upon articles read in the newspaper and the fact that HANSEN at one time had asked CASEY if he knew of any girls in Seward that they could party with.

JOHN HENNING, JOANNE HENNING and son interviewed by Sergeant FLOTHE and Sergeant HAUGSVEN at AST Headquarters with regards to identifying the weapons which HANSEN turned over to JOHN HENNING on June 13th, 1983 the date that CINDY PAULSEN escaped from ROBERT HANSEN. All three members of the HENNING family picked out three different weapons and three different holsters, with regards to the weapon that HANSEN had allegedly given to JOHN HENNING.

1/30/84: Met at AST/CIB with ROTHSCHLD to view evidence with FRED DEWEY for defense for HANSEN. DEWEY failed to show up.

Fred Dewey

“As expected, Hansen’s defense attorney filed a detailed motion challenging the legality of the search warrant. Fred Dewey asked the Superior Court to reject evidence seized in the October 27 search of Hansen’s property. He also asked that the trial be moved to ‘a location not readily influenced by the print and electronic media of Anchorage.’ According to Dewey, ‘Extensive publicity linking Robert Hansen with the missing dancer investigation has made it impossible to seat an impartial jury in Anchorage.’

“Dewey accused police of resurrecting the rape accusation—four months after dropping it for lack of evidence—as a pretext to obtain the search warrant. By October, he charged, Hansen had become a suspect in the case of the disappearing dancers. But police had no evidence against him and could not have gotten a search warrant in that case.

“The warrant that was finally issued, Dewey wrote, was illegally broad and allowed police to ‘rummage about’ Hansen’s home, plane and vehicles. Dewey also noted that when police searched Hansen’s property the June rape accusation was too old to provide legitimate probable cause for a search. Therefore, he said, all evidence found in the various searches should be ruled inadmissible in court.

“Dewey’s motion also made a pointed attack on the FBI profiling techniques, which argued that Hansen fit the profile of a serial murderer. Dewey argued that the inclusion of the FBI serial killer profile, and the comments of Dr. Rothrock to the effect that Hansen ‘might be involved with the missing dancers,’ improperly influenced Superior Court Judge Victor Carlson to approve ‘an illegal search.’

“Dewey also took issue with the list of Hansen’s past convictions cited in the search warrant. He noted that such references are not considered legal grounds for issuing search warrants.

“Taken together, it was enough to cause the prosecution plenty of worry. All the second-guessing done by the DA each step of the way had finally been borne out.”

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Arrest of Robert Hansen: Criminal Justice Churns, Part I

Yes, it’s true. The wheel of justice churns slowly. It took two months after the search of Hansen’s house for that wheel to start turning. And when it did, Hansen’s attorney was hit with the bricks that Flothe had assembled. It started with Cindy Paulson. Smart money said the defense would try to impugn Cindy’s reputation with the “hooker” defense. It had worked in the past. Why not now?

And with Bob in jail, sitting in limbo, he had plenty of time to conjure creative ways out of his dilemma. Flothe got word from the jailhouse that Hansen was trying to persuade some friends to pay Cindy to leave town. Those rumors would eventually bloom into more sinister, though never proven, intimations that Hansen was trying to arrange for her murder. Given who Hansen was allegedly depending on for that task — the same men who alibied him in Cindy’s kidnapping — that was a bridge too far.

Either way, Cindy would end up a scared little puppy. Bob’s attorney would stall for time, making her situation worse with each passing day. Sometimes justice churns too slowly.

12/28/83: The offense files defense motion. Defense also advised of witness, CINDY PAULSON’s, phone number.

1/10/84: D.A. FRANK ROTHSCHILD meets with Sergeant FLOTHE at A.S.T. Headquarters during which time ROTHSCHILD reviews case reports to insure that the defense has all copies of pertinent materials.

Frank Rothschild, Anchorage Prosecuting Attorney

1/10/84: Hearing at 1:30 pm before Judge BUCKALEW; D.A. FRANK ROTHSCHILD and Defense Attorney FRED DEWEY regarding defense motion requesting postponement of trial. Judge BUCKALEW advises he would take the matter under advisement.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

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.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

An Anonymous Victim Comes Forward, Pt. 2

Hansen’s treacherous rendezvous with this anonymous victim is a too familiar reminder of the recurring themes in his criminal career:

  • Forced sex in an out-of-the-way location (a State Park or, better yet, The Bush).
  • A he-said-she-said encounter, with the victim at a disadvantage because of her life choices.
  • The police gullible accomplices to his claim that the victim’s complaint was a dispute over sex-for-money.
  • A seemingly credible claim that he couldn’t own guns because he was an ex-felon.

In this instance, Hansen even managed to work the sympathy angle, mentioning that he’d met this particular anonymous victim while his wife was out-of-town. Oh yes, the good ol’ cat’s-away-mice-will-play defense.

[The] woman described the man as a white male, approximately 30 years of age, approximately 5’8″, average build, brownish-blonde hair, blue eyes, wearing wire-rimmed glasses, short hair parted on the side, and with a slight stutter in his speech.

Anonymous Victim
Robert Hansen at his 1971 Arrest (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Investigator Bernard’s report indicates that he checked the Division of Motor Vehicles registration files for Alaska license AY261, and found that license was issued to Robert C. Hansen of 327 Thomas Circle, Anchorage. Barnard went to that address and observed, on October 10, 1975, a 1974 Volvo stationwagon, red in color, with Alaska license AY261 parked in the driveway. He noted the vehicle had deep red exterior color and a black interior.

Anonymous Victim
Hansen’s House on Thomas Circle (Google Maps)

Anonymous Victim
Aerial View, Hansen’s House on Thomas Circle (Google Streetview; illustration Leland E. Hale) Note the proximity to the Glenn Highway and Mountain View Dr. These locations would figure prominently in Hansen’s ongoing criminal activities.

Barnard procured an unmarked photograph of Robert C. Hansen and gave it to Sheryl Messer to show her unidentified female complainant. On October 16, 1975, Messer advised Barnard that the female victim had positively identified the photograph as being of her assailant. Messer also informed Barnard that the woman still refused to be identified to police or talk to them directly out of fear for her life.

“The trooper[s] later learned there was another, less profound, reason for her reluctance. She was a school-teacher from the lower forty-eight and was afraid that cooperating with the police would lead to a trial and make public her involvement. Understandably, she feared her school district almost as much as she feared Robert C. Hansen.”

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

On October 14, 1975, Investigator Barnard interviewed Robert C. Hansen, who denied abducting or raping any woman on September 28. Hansen stated he knew a tall, dark-haired girl that he had met at the Kit Kat Club in Anchorage the previous summer, when Hansen’s wife was out of town. Hansen said he struck up a conversation with the girl, and they agreed to go to her place.

Hansen said that as he was driving the girl toward her residence in his car, she said it was going to cost him $100.00, whereupon he became upset and drove the girl back to the Kit Kat Club. Hansen told Barnard that the girl was angry at him and called him obscene names, but he did nothing to her. Hansen denied owning any pistols, stating he was a convicted felon and could not own one. Hansen further stated that on Sunday, September 28, 1975, he was in the Seward area, fishing.

It is worth noting that Mary Thill went missing in Seward in July, 1975. Hansen once more places himself in the Seward area — a strange alibi in retrospect — although it is clear he was with this anonymous victim instead.

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

An Anonymous Victim Comes Forward, Pt. 1

Robert Hansen’s crimes in Alaska stretch back to at least 1971 — and perhaps earlier. We’ve talked about some of them. The homicide involving Celia “Beth” van Zanten. The disappearance of Megan Emerick in Seward. The disappearance of Mary Thill, also in Seward. All these crimes and disappearances were south of Anchorage, in what were some of his earliest stomping grounds. So it was that, in 1975, an anonymous woman came forward, telling of a crime that took her south, from the Kit Kat Club to Chugach State Park.

This case is notable for its consistency with Hansen’s emerging M.O. More than that, the appearance of Chugach State Park is remarkable. Beth van Zanten was killed at McHugh Creek — just down the road. Whether this woman knew that is unknown. What is known is that, out of fear, she preferred to remain anonymous.

On October 5, 1975, Sheryl Messer of the Anchorage Rape and Assault Center reported to Investigator Sam Barnard that a female adult had reported to Messer that she had been abducted and raped by a caucasian male on September 28, 1975, in Anchorage.

Messer stated that the woman victim had sworn Messer to secrecy concerning her name, and that the victim would not talk to police herself out of fear for her life. Messer stated the woman was a caucasian female, approximately 28 years of age, who was a dancer at an unnamed Anchorage night club. [Later identified as the Kit Kat Club]

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

The woman told Messer that she had met her assailant at the club one evening, and had given him her telephone number. The woman further told Messer that the man called her home at approximately 4:00 am, on Sunday, September 28, 1975, and arranged to meet her at the Fork & Spoon Restaurant. When the woman arrived there, she met the man, but he pulled a gun, which she described as a large semi-automatic pistol. [The man] forced the woman into his vehicle, which the woman described as a 1974 or 75 foreign station wagon, deep red in color, with a black interior, having Alaska license number AY261.

The woman told Messer that the man then drove her to Chugiak [Chugach] State Park (sic) and raped her, performed cunnilingus on her, and forced her to perform fellatio on him.

Kit Kat Club (approximate) to Chugach State Park (Google Maps; illustration Leland E. Hale)

The woman told Messer that the man stated that if she did not do as she was told, he would kill her. The man also said he worked on the pipeline, and he was raping women in the Anchorage area and he had a friend who also worked on the pipeline who was also raping women. The man also said that he knew that the woman would not be able to be a good witness against him because she was a nude dancer and a prostitute.

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Thoughts on Christy Hayes: Between the Quick and the Dead

For Robert Hansen, the “idea” of The Bush was a place where women could scream and no one would hear them. Christy Hayes was too quick for that. When Hansen failed to get her to The Bush — when she refused to go where he wanted to go — when she, finally, refused to relinquish herself to him — these were the things that saved her life.

It could have turned out otherwise. The troopers would end up with a long list of could-have-been-otherwise. But Christy kept working Hansen’s last good nerve until he was out of ideas. Next time will be different, he told himself. Next time will be different.


One supposes that Christy Hayes thought sex with Robert Hansen would be quick and dirty. She already had his money. Just go to his camper, do the deed, and be done. She brushed off his suggestion that they take his airplane to Palmer. Christy was all about business. She had three kids waiting at home. This was to be a brief diversion.

Christy Hayes never lost sight of what was most important.

Once inside the camper, Christy stripped naked. Hansen did not. This was another clue. Suddenly there was a silver colored revolver, a stern lecture about cooperating, and guitar wire to bind her feet and hands. Hansen shoved her onto the camper’s bunk, locked her in the camper and drove off, to destinations unknown.

Back in the camper, Christy Hayes went full mama bear.

This man needed to understand that she didn’t have time for this nonsense. “This gotta be quick. I gotta get back to my kids,” she shouted from the back of the truck. “If I don’t get back, they ain’t gonna have no babysitter.”

“They gonna be by themselves. You hear me? I don’t want nobody messin’ with my babies. You hear me?”

Her shouting served to divert Hansen’s attention. He was already paranoid about getting stopped with a woman in his car. No way he could explain this one. He had to get off the main roads, take the back way to Muldoon.

This was no longer about the money, or the sex. This was about her kids.

While Christy Hayes seemed nonstop with her mouth, her hands were twice as busy. Hansen could hear, but barely see her. Soon, she was out of the restraints. Maybe… Nope. The camper door was locked. From the outside.

Suddenly, the brakes slammed, sending Christy to the floor. There was the gun again, pointing at her head through the open window, between the cab and the camper. Christy ducked. Hansen jumped out and ran to the back, determined to regain control.

Robert Hansen, 1969 (courtesy Anchorage Times)

Christy knew that “quick is, as quick does.” She squeezed through the open window and into the cab of the truck. Locked the window behind her. Locked all the doors. Find the damn key and drive away from here.

Not that quick. Hansen had the truck keys.

The keys gave Hansen only a small measure of control. He tried to reason with her. Fail. He tried to reason with her using his revolver. Double Fail. “Just give me my clothes,” she demanded. She didn’t want to go naked on this chill October night. Fail.

In the cab of the truck, Christy Hayes went full mama bear.

When she started tearing out the truck’s wires, Hansen could no longer keep his patience. When he shattered the side glass, Christy Hayes skipped into the night. That morning, she would hug her kids like no other.

Purchase Butcher, Baker