Kidnapped: Cindy Paulson, Part VIII: The Coffee Table

Kidnapped: The Cindy Paulson Story [Installment One]

Cindy Paulson’s narrative is driven by her need to tell Glenn Flothe everything about her kidnapping by Robert Hansen. Sometimes, Flothe has to deliberately slow her pace. He wants to capture every last detail, down to the coffee table in Hansen’s den.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Cindy Paulson
Cindy Paulson

FLOTHE: OK. Now, let’s back up a little bit… You come into the garage, now tell me what happens next. When you come into the garage…

CINDY: He takes me out of the car and takes me to the house.

FLOTHE: You were still handcuffed?

CINDY: Yeah, I was handcuffed the whole time.

FLOTHE: Did you go downstairs?

CINDY: Uh huh.

FLOTHE: And what happened when you went downstairs?

CINDY: He sat down on the… I sat down on the chair next to the coffee table, whatever you call it. He pulled the bear skin rug around… And all the time he kept telling me ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you if you cooperate.’ And he kept one handcuff on me while I was (inaudible). And then for a minute, after he had had sex with me on the bear skin rug, he left my hand handcuffed and my neck tied and then connected a rope around my feet. But that didn’t work. It came untied.

FLOTHE: Somehow we jumped from coming down stairs to being on a bear rug. What happened in between? I mean…

CINDY: He just…

FLOTHE: Did he chain you up at that point, or…

CINDY: No.

FLOTHE: He didn’t…

CINDY: He just tied me up to the coffee table, that’s here, and the TV’s in the center (points to diagram).

FLOTHE: He tied you up to the coffee table… How did he do that?

Gun Coffee Table Undressed

CINDY: Tied a rope around my neck and the coffee table… the coffee table on the top… and then it has a… compartments underneath where you can store stuff… tied me around with a rope.

FLOTHE: Was your head closed in, or…

CINDY: Nope. My hands…

FLOTHE: What’s this big square in front of the coffee table?

CINDY: That’s the rug.

FLOTHE: Oh. Write that on there somewhere. That’s the bear rug?

CINDY: Nope. The bear rug isn’t… This is just a regular rug.

FLOTHE: What color’s that rug?

CINDY: I believe it’s red and pink.

FLOTHE: OK, so he tied your…

CINDY: Head right in here (points to diagram). And my head was here and the rope here… and this chair was flipped over here… And I always had my handcuff there and I was laying this way…

FLOTHE: Why don’t you draw yourself… You know, draw a stick figure showing how you were… You know, head along here…

[pause]

CINDY: (sobs and sniffles) Sorry…

FLOTHE: That’s all right… So, your right arm was tied to…

CINDY: I was handcuffed…

FLOTHE: Handcuffed to…

CINDY: To the chair…

FLOTHE: The chair…

CINDY: And my head was… tied a rope around my neck…

FLOTHE: OK.

CINDY: …and tied to the coffee table…

Coffee Table
Hansen’s Den w/ Coffee Table (courtesy Alaska State Trooper; illustration, Leland E. Hale)

FLOTHE: And your right arm…

CINDY: My arm was straight.

FLOTHE: And your leg?

CINDY: My legs were free.

FLOTHE: OK. Did he… How did your clothes get off?

CINDY: He took ‘em off.

FLOTHE: All of ‘em?

CINDY: Except for my… Except for my shirt… I took it off.

FLOTHE: You took your shirt off…

CINDY: Yes, he said to. I did. Shit, with a gun in your face, you would too.

FLOTHE: He had the gun in his hand when he told you to?

CINDY: Oh, yeah.

Kidnapped: Cindy Paulson, Part IV

This is Installment Four of the September 27, 1983, interview of Cindy Paulson by Sgt. Glenn Flothe, AST. In this installment, Cindy talks about — and proves — her observational powers, in this case related to Robert Hansen’s house on Old Harbor Road. Her ability to accurately describe every detail of her ordeal was crucial to establishing her credibility as a witness. Too often, Robert Hansen was believed instead of the women, many of them dancers or prostitutes, who testified against him. [Installment Three]

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Cindy Paulson
Cindy Paulson

FLOTHE: So he takes you to the house. Now, from reading your report apparently you had a pretty good description of the house that you gave the police. Do you know your way around town well, or why did you happen to remember so well where it was at?

CINDY: Because when I drove past the house there was a sign that said ‘Dead End.’

FLOTHE: You drove past the house?

CINDY: Up to the house.

FLOTHE: Oh and you saw a sign that said ‘Dead End?’

CINDY: Yes.

FLOTHE: How did you know this? Did you know the street name?

CINDY: No. You see, when we was driving I observed everything. ‘Cause this motherfucker wasn’t getting away with it.

FLOTHE: I hope not.

CINDY: I knew I was in trouble. And I really, really… If there was any chance of me getting away, he wasn’t getting away with it.

Cindy Paulson (audio)

FLOTHE: You also described the outside of the house. Can you describe that again to me, Cindy?

CINDY: It’s blue with a big ol’ picture window and the whole house is… If you drive down Old Harbor Road, the window’s on the right side and the garage is to the left.

Hansen house Old Harbor Road (b&w)
Hansen’s House, Old Harbor Road (copyright Leland E. Hale)

FLOTHE: Was there anything else unusual about the house?

CINDY: There’s no trees in the front yard.

FLOTHE: OK. I think before you mentioned something being on the roof of the house.

CINDY: Yep. There were horns.

FLOTHE: Horns?

CINDY: Yep. (inaudible) The horns that were up there, the big ol’ antler horns, they’re called. That was everywhere in the whole… In the basement there was fish, there was wolf skin, there was stuffed animals everywhere. Big ol’ like caribou and goats heads, big ones stuffed everywhere. Ducks and birds.

Robert Hansen's Den
Hansen’s Den (copyright Leland E. Hale)

FLOTHE: When you drove up to the house did you see any other cars there at the time?

CINDY: Yep. Like a Datsun Toyota cream-colored car. Four door. Like a station wagon.

FLOTHE: Like a station wagon?

CINDY: Uh huh. Like a little Datsun station wagon.

Hansen's cars close-up
Hansen’s Truck & Datsun Close-up
(copyright Leland E. Hale)

FLOTHE: Where did he park the car?

CINDY: The Buick car, inside the garage.

FLOTHE: How did he get in?

CINDY: The automatic opener.

FLOTHE: He had an automatic garage door opener?

CINDY: The garage was opened. (inaudible)

FLOTHE: Either he had opened it or it was already open?

CINDY: Uh huh. I was kinda trippin’ I really thought (inaudible)

FLOTHE: This car that was in the driveway – how new or old was this car?

CINDY: (interrupting) It was an older car.

FLOTHE: An older car.

CINDY: Uh huh.

FLOTHE: Can you describe it a little bit more to me?

CINDY: It was probably about a ’72, cream-colored Datsun, with a kinda station wagon in the back, the kind that you used to… It was about a ’72 or ’73.

FLOTHE: You think if I showed you some pictures of some cars later on you might be able to pick it out?

CINDY: Uh huh. Uh huh.

FLOTHE: OK. So you go into the garage, what happens then, when you get into the garage? Were the lights on or off?

CINDY: On. He takes me up the stairs to the garage, I mean, to the house. After we get in the garage we gotta go up these stairs. About four stairs to get into the house. And we got to the house and he drug me downstairs to the… as soon as you walk in there’s a carpet to the right. To the left is the basement.

FLOTHE: At this time, so I know what you’re talking about, ‘cause I have not been in the house, Cindy…

CINDY: Uh huh.

(sound of paper being torn off a tablet)

FLOTHE: Would you draw me a diagram of the house and I’ll turn the tape off just for a minute while you’re doing that. I’m not going to help you do that, all right?

CINDY: OK.

FLOTHE: Turning the tape off at 8:34 pm.

Purchase Butcher, Baker