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!
Robert Hansen wanted Cindy Paulson to disappear. As noted elsewhere, the jailhouse scuttlebutt was that Hansen was leaning on his buddies to give Cindy a one way ticket out of town. As it turned out, Cindy was taking herself out of the picture. It was no coincidence that she disappeared just after being served with a subpoena.
“[Cindy] didn’t quite know what to make of [the subpoena]. It almost seemed like a breach of trust. She had no way of knowing that Flothe was simply trying to cover his ass.”
Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”
Now Flothe had to locate her and he wasn’t sure where to start. If he couldn’t locate her, his entire case against Hansen was in jeopardy. Not only that, but a suddenly free Robert Hansen would kill again. It was just a matter of time.
2/2/84: Interview with JOHN SUMRALL reference hunting with HANSEN. Had him discuss previous areas he hunted with HANSEN. Learned of weapon, Ruger #1, given to him by HANSEN. Run serial number after he leaves. Weapon stolen.
2/3/84: CINDY PAULSEN moves out from Gentleman’s Retreat doesn’t advise Sergeant FLOTHE.
2/6/84: SUMRALL brings in stolen Ruger #1.
CHERRY JOHNSON calls unable to locate CINDY, told she doesn’t work at Gentleman’s Retreat anymore. CINDY’s whereabouts unknown.
Purchase Butcher, Baker
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.
“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
It wasn’t like Robert Hansen’s arrest buttoned everything up and the cops could start celebrating with champagne. In fact, troopers still didn’t have Hansen on murder, the most serious of the charges looming on the horizon. The only charges filed against him were the kidnapping and rape of Cindy Paulson. What that meant was a vulnerable seventeen year old was all that kept Robert Hansen in custody. Clearly, other things needed to happen. Lots of other things. Call it “going to ground.” Call it “lots of ground to cover.” Law enforcement now faced a dose of the thankless shoe leather work that’s obligatory in cases like these.
1/17/84: FLOTHE met with APD Investigator GENTILE, with regards to locating previous fall of 1972, HANSEN rape victim M. MURPHY. Contacts were made with Anchorage street prostitutes with regards to locating MURPHY.
1/18/84: Sergeant FLOTHE and Trooper VonCLASEN contacted witness CINDY PAULSON at the Gentlemen’s Retreat Massage Parlor, at which time CINDY PAULSON is served with the subpoena regarding the HANSEN trial.
1/23/84: HANSEN evidence previously submitted to the FBI laboratory is returned to AST. Only item presently still remaining at the FBI laboratory is the .223 calibre Mini-14.
Sergeant FLOTHE receives telephone call from MONA ALTIERY, mother of missing person, ANDREA ALTIERY. MONA ALTIERY advised that she would send the dental records of ANDREA ALTIERY to Sergeant FLOTHE.
Andrea Altiery is still listed as a missing person. She was last seen taking a cab to the Boniface Mall in Anchorage, Alaska at 11:00 p.m. on December 2, 1981, where she was to meet an unidentified male for a photo shoot.
Purchase Butcher, Baker
What troopers knew as they took Robert Hansen in for interrogation was that stray brass had been found at gravesites on the Knik River, gravesites where the remains of missing dancers were found. The also knew that the brass was from a very specific group of firearms — ones like AR-15’s and Mini-14’s — that fired .223 caliber rounds. Troopers wanted to know more about Hansen’s weapons and where he’d fired them. If they could get him to place himself and his .223 on the Knik, they were one step closer to putting him away.
Bob, in his peculiar, half-bragging, half-dissembling style, led them down a garden path of meaningless evasions. One thing was certain: he fancied himself quite the expert with his .223. It was, it seemed, a natural extension of himself, his own, personal mini-me.
Hansen’s .223 “Mini-14” — His Preferred Murder Weapon (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)
“Under questioning Hansen said he had been up on the Knik that fall, duck hunting with his son. He also said he’d been there during the summer. Where had he fired his .223 during that time? Flothe asked. On a map, Hansen pointed to a big, flat territory to the west of the old Knik River bridge.
“There’s some islands here,” he said, pointing to the same spot. “Green islands in through here. I’ve gone on the banks there and shot into those banks along here many, many times. At some spots up there I’ve gone and put stuff in the river, you know, and flown over and tried to shoot at them to practice for wolf hunting…”
“Oh, you’ve shot from the air?” Flothe asked, only half believing.
“You’ve shot from the air,” Flothe said again, sardonically. “I didn’t realize you’ve done that. I have a more specific map of this area here. Hold it down. This is an aerial photograph. There’s a bunch of little numbers on here and I can—I can explain some things to you afterwards, but let’s do this in relation to the map you have in your hand now. Can you help me out?”
“By number three here?” Hansen said, pointing to the aerial map. “I’ve shot along these banks in here many times, because it’s a good place to shoot, because you’ve got some good flat banks in here.”
“Uh huh,” Flothe acknowledged.
“You can throw balloons in the water and when you shoot, you can see where your bullets are striking.”
“This is from the aircraft flying over?” Flothe asked, still dubious.
“Yes. In the wintertime, I shoot wolves an awful lot.”
“Describe your .223 to me,” Flothe said suddenly. “I am not over at the house now. Describe it to me.”
“Just a normal .223. The old—there’s only one model that I know of.”
“Well, there’s quite a few different models. There’s, you know, there’s M-16’s, which are fully automatic,” Flothe pointed out. “There’s AR-15’s…”
“Mini-14’s…” Galyan added.
“14,” Hansen responded, indicating that was the model he was familiar with.
“Okay, the Mini-14. And this is the one you’re talking about?” Flothe asked. “You practiced dry runs, like shooting wolves, is that what you’re talking about?”
“The reason I’m practicing here is to shoot wolves.”
“And you’ve hunted in that area?” Flothe asked.
“Oh, yes. Here. You can see this-here river here, how flat it is. We put balloons out there. If you hit one, of course, it bursts. If not, you can see.”
Both Flothe and Galyan had trouble suppressing their skepticism. Here was a man accused of murder, a man who now had to suspect that his shell casings were on the Knik, and he was trying to wriggle out of it by suggesting that he’d been up there shooting at balloons while flying a plane.
Excerpt From Butcher, Baker, Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale
Purchase Butcher, Baker