Notes on Hansen Photos: Police Chief Marvin Wiseman

In an August 2, 2017 post, we revealed never-before-published photos of Robert Hansen. The following is a transcription of a letter from former Pohahontas, Iowa, Police Chief Marvin Wiseman, which accompanied two “vintage” photos from Pocahontas resident Ralph Hudek. Chief Wiseman knew Robert Hansen all too well.

Mt. Pleasant, Ia

Dear Leland Hale

Here are the pictures you requested. The picture of Bob Hansen in the group is in the top row on the right. The Junior Police Corps was active in the late 50’s and early 60’s in Pocahontas, Iowa. Boys aged 12 -18 were eligible. Bob Hansen was one of the instructors for a couple of years with the group.

Marvin was with the Pocahontas Police Department at that time as Police Chief. The picture of Marvin in uniform was taken in the summer of 62 in front of city hall on main street.

Sincerely & Good Luck
Mr. & Mrs. Marvin C. Wiseman

Robert Hansen, Junior Police Corps, Iowa
Junior Police Corps, Pocahontas, Iowa; Marvin Wiseman, at left (courtesy Ralph Hudek)

Chief Marvin Wiseman, Pocahontas, IA, Summer 1962
Pocahontas Police Chief, Marvin Wiseman, Summer, 1962 (courtesy Ralph Hudek)

Worth noting is the fact that it was Wiseman who promoted Bob Hansen to the position of Junior Police Corps instructor — and Wiseman who eased him out of that position when a troubled Hansen returned to Pocahontas after a stint in the U.S. Army.

Hansen was so troubled that soon thereafter he committed arson at a Pocahontas school bus barn. A polygraph operator who interviewed Hansen in conjunction with that crime felt compelled to warn the police chief about their chief suspect: “Man, you better watch it,” he told Wiseman. “You’ve been living in danger. That kid was planning on blowing up your house.

When he returned from the Army, Bob became the ringleader of a younger group of kids. They didn’t have much use for the “Poky” Police Department. They were a bunch of rural smart-asses, full of mischief and capable of almost anything.

In the months before the arson fire… Bob and his friends were suspected of blowing up a tractor in the town of Rolfe, just north of Pocahontas. They were apparently practicing for an attempt on the Pocahontas water tower, and had used a single stick of dynamite in their practice run. Only a fire in a bus barn intervened to thwart the attempt on the water tower.

From “Butcher, Baker”

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…


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…


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…


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.

Robert Hansen: Never Before Published Photos

Kidnapped: The Cindy Paulson Story [Installment One]

When Butcher, Baker was published as a print-book, the photographic collection ran up against the limitations of the medium. Because photos are printed separately and then bound to the middle of the book, they must be printed in four-page sets (two pages of photos on the front side, two on the back). That means the photographic spreads are always laid out in multipes of four: four page spreads, eight pages spreads, 12 pages, etc. — but never five pages, seven pages or 11 pages. To do otherwise means a blank page (or two or three). That’s not an efficient use of resources, so publishers don’t do it.

Butcher, Baker got an eight-page photo spread. Each photo was the best of its kind.

But there were always many more photos. Some of them made it into the Ebook version, but by no means all of them. Here I’m sharing, for the first time, some of the Robert Hansen photos that didn’t make in into either version.

In the Junior Police Corps set, it is worth noting that one of Hansen’s early ambitions was to go into law enforcement. His 1961 arrest for arson in a building pretty much destroyed that dream forever (it also ended his first marriage). The photo of Hansen, handcuffed in a jailhouse line after his murder arrest, is a stark reminder of where he ultimately ended up.

Photos: Robert Hansen police cadet
Robert Hansen, Junior Police Corps, Pocahontas, Iowa (courtesy Ralph Hudek)

Robert Hansen, Junior Police Corps, closeup (courtesy Ralph Hudek)

Photos: Robert Hansen hides his face from reporters
Robest Hansen Hides Face From Reporters After His October 1984 Murder Arrest (copyright Anchorage Times)

NOTE: The original photograph of Hansen hiding his face from news photographers did not disguise the other faces. I added a blur effect in Photoshop to protect their privacy. The young man handcuffed to Robert Hansen, by the way, has a huge smile on his face. He seems amused by the sideshow in which he’s suddenly found himself.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Kidnapped: The Lineup Photos & Robert Hansen

Kidnapped: The Cindy Paulson Story [Installment One]

When Cindy Paulson picked Robert Hansen out of a lineup, it was decidely not a slam-dunk. There were five other photos in the lineup, each of them quite similar (as is appropriate). That wasn’t the only hurdle. Hansen had changed his appearance by the time he met Cindy Paulson, having shaved his moustache.

Nonetheless, Cindy went straight to Hansen’s photo, without hesitation. This was the man. The killer. There was no mistaking any of that. The trick now was to turn Cindy’s lineup identification into an arrest.

APD Lineup Shown to Cindy Paulson
Lineup Photo

On June 13, 1983, Cindy Paulson was kidnapped and raped, her life threatened by Robert Hansen. Her eventual getaway was central to Hansen’s ultimate capture and confession to the murder of dozens of women. Three months later, Cindy agreed to a detailed interview with Sgt. Glenn Flothe, the Alaska State Trooper in charge of the homicide investigation. This interview helped pave the way for Hansen’s indictment in the murders. The Cindy Paulson story starts here.

Purchase Butcher, Baker