Life with Robert Hansen: There Seems to Be More

The “why” answer discussed in our previous post is a long one. And in all likelihood incomplete. Even Assistant D.A., after answering that question, had to say, “but there seems to be more.” Yes, there does seem to be more. There seems to be a lot more. Here we glide from cause to effect; once his killing spree started, Hansen seems to have created an elaborate and deadly set of reinforcing behaviors. One thrill begat the next one.

Trophies at Hansen’s house (Alaska State Troopers)

“This hunter who kept trophies on the wall had a world record.

Hansen with his World Record Dall’s Sheep

“Well, he now has trophies scattered throughout southcentral Alaska. He put his little notches on the map. And isn’t it interesting that two of his maps were found in his bedboard behind his bed. You can just see him when he has a moment to himself, pulling them out and looking at the little X’s on the map, of women he’d killed and buried.

Hansen Map (detail)

“He admits to there being at least 20 to 30 women where everything went okay and he dropped them back off on the streets. We fear there were many more; we don’t really believe for a minute that he’s told us the full story. He is a compulsive liar. He gives us what he knows he has to give up — give us [that] and no more.

“It’s a game you see, Your Honor, it’s a game with authority, it’s a game with police, it’s trying to outfox, it’s the big thrill.

“And his family? Well, from back in ’62 on [when he was arrested for arson in Iowa], he always talked about his family. Oh, I care so much for my family, I’m so worried about how this will affect them.

“That’s a fiction.

“His family was a prop so he could hide behind decency, to show I’m a family man. And he’s a baker and he makes money and it’s just all part of the game.”

“Now there are, Your Honor, 13 bodies still out there to find.”

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Life with Robert Hansen: Rothschild Defines “Cold”

As Assistant District Attorney Frank Rothschild articulated the depth and depravity of Robert Hansen’s crimes, one description rose to the top. “This man was cold,” Rothschild told Judge Moody. Everything about him, everything he did. Cold.

“He said, I tried to act tough as I could to get them as scared as possible. Get my hand on the girl’s hair, hold her head back and put a gun in her face to get them to feel helpless, scared right there… [He] talked about wanting to have complete control and domination over these people. As long as I can control the situation then there’s going to be no problem, I won’t have to kill anybody. I’ll get what I want and send them back on the streets,” Rothschild continued, paraphrasing Hansen. […]

“And when asked, well, what happened Mr. Hansen, if they didn’t go along with the program, he said, well, then they stayed. Those were his words. He would even tell them if things don’t go right, boy, this is where you’re going to stay. To scare them.”

At this point, the Assistant D.A. took a leap into conjecture. Informed conjecture, but conjecture nonetheless. It was the kind of conjecture that gets movies made.

“And while he doesn’t talk about it or admit to it, it’s obvious from reading through and looking at where things started and where the women ended up, he hunted them down, Judge. He let them run a little bit and then he enjoyed a little hunt just like with his big game animals. He toyed with them, he wanted to scare them, he got a charge out of all this.

Hansen Victim Grave (clothing and shoe)

“They weren’t shot right where it all started; he let them run, he grabbed them and they’d claw a little bit and he’d let them run a little more and he played with them. He doesn’t look big and strong but he is.

“One time he called this a summertime project. What a lovely word for his handiwork, a summertime project. And he did admit that none of them went willingly. Even when he went through the map and talked about where all these women were and pointed out to us where they were, it was cold. He said, well, there’s one here and there’s one there and you’ll find one next to this tree and one under that road. They weren’t people to him. They weren’t human beings to him.”

Trooper Dig on Knik River

It’s here that I disagree with Rothschild (and others). I personally don’t find it completely credible that Hansen routinely released his victims so he could toy with them. In part that’s because of what Rothschild himself says of Hansen:

[He] talked about wanting to have complete control and domination over these people. As long as I can control the situation then there’s going to be no problem…[emphasis added]

By releasing his victims, even in the relative safety of the Alaskan bush, Hansen was effectively reliquishing control. That goes in the face of everything else Hansen did. Remember that Hansen was meticulous in his precautions. He sought to control things down to the knat’s ass last detail.

  • Never going on a “date” at the first meeting, but making a rendezvous at the time and place of his choosing.
  • Making sure they met him at a location where he could ensure they were unaccompanied.
  • Abandoning the rendezvous if he saw them with other people.
  • Using restraints so the women wouldn’t get out of control in his car.
  • Forcing them to sit on the floor of his vehicle, so no one could see them.
  • A pistol always at the ready, the better to maintain control.
  • Choosing private and/or remote locations for sex.

In this context, the notion that Hansen routinely toyed with these woman, as Rothschild suggests, is incongruous. Robert Hansen wanted complete control, at all times.

Measuring Grave Depth

That the women were often found a distance away from the start of their ordeal also doesn’t require Rothschild’s definition of cold. Remember Cindy Paulson’s escape.

Cindy used a single distracted moment to make it hundreds of feet — in handcuffs — before Hansen caught up with her. Had she been in the bush, she would have been dead right there. Instead, a citizen in a truck came by to save her life.

We know that other women also fought off Hansen and tried to escape, including Christy Hayes — who succeeded. By Hansen’s own admission, others tried to fight him off. And lost.

That said, there remains the possibility that Hansen’s crimes evolved to the point that they reached the levels Rothschild supposes. Glenn Flothe tells us that Hansen’s acts of violence became increasingly savage toward the end. That he shot them multiple times, past the point of death. And then he knifed them, striking so ferociously that he appeared intent on obliterating them. That much we do know. The rest is speculation.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Life With Robert Hansen: Assistant D.A. Frank D. Rothschild

It was up to Assistant District Attorney Frank Rothschild to articulate the depth and depravity of Robert Hansen’s crimes. When he went before Judge Ralph E. Moody at Robert Hansen’s sentencing, he stood in for all the victims who could not be heard, and for the few who got away. He also stood in for all the upstanding citizens of Alaska, as their voice and their conscience. He did not spare his criticism of those who aided and abetted Robert Hansen. In good conscience, he could not.

As Rothschild recalled Cindy Paulson’s escape from Robert Hansen, he noted her fear. “Dr. Hollingshead, who saw [Cindy] in the emergency room, and he’d worked there for years and seen victims of all kinds of crimes, he’s seen people fearful, had never seen a woman so scared out of her wits that she’d seen her Maker.”

Rothschild went on to describe what happened next.

Assistant D.A. Frank D. Rothschild at Robert Hansen’s Sentencing

“But he had an alibi,” Rothschild told the judge, referring to Robert Hansen. “Just as he always said he was going to do to all of the women in the speech he gave them, he told them that he had someone waiting to give an alibi so they might as well not talk. It wouldn’t do them any good, who would believe them, a hooker, a dancer who dances naked, versus this man, respectable, and his friends.”

Judge Ralph E. Moody

“[Hansen] was a little worried this time, though, because she had handcuffs on when she ran out and he had some concerns about that. He thought she might be a little more believable given the fact that she was wearing handcuffs, so he rushed home and called his good friend John Henning, he’ll alibi for me. And sure enough he did.”

“Now, he didn’t tell John Henning the truth about what had happened and John Henning is a man who says that, in his mind, why, it’s just an occupational hazard of women who work the streets to get a little roughed around or have these kinds of problems. So he stood up for his buddy, agreed to provide the police with a alibi, took his weapons from him because he was afraid the police might be suspicious with him having weapons; not only that, but it would have been a crime for him to have a handgun, of course.”

“And when the investigator called him, he told then flat out, he was with me all night, couldn’t have been with that street prostitute. Was confronted twice more by the investigator, once at the police department. Oh, no, he was with me. The police officer read him the riot act and said, now this is the time to come forward and these are serious charges and you could be obstructing justice. And he said, oh, no, he was with me, just as calm and cool as can be.”

Cindy Paulson

“He does more than that, we find now. They get the wonderful idea and Mr. Henning says, hey, why don’t we get another alibi since we’re doing it. I know some cab driver friend, let’s get him to come forward and say that he delivered pizza and beer while we were together that night. We got two alibis now. And they go over to this guy’s house, the two of them, and they tell the man, we need an alibi. […] And he went along with it.”

“This same friend tells [Hansen] to rush off, that he’d better get an attorney. This same friend who knows a doctor out there at Humana Hospital, goes to his doctor friend, tells him about the trouble his buddy is in and asks him to go into the records and get, if he can, the name and address of the woman who accused him of rape. That doctor went to the emergency room doctor and asked him to get those records.”

“And he didn’t give them. And he told his doctor, the police are involved. Dr. Hollingshead suspected this was the man who was abducting all the women off he streets and he told him he better back off. And he did.”

“But Mr. Henning sure was a good friend.”

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Murder on Knik River Rd: Meet the Parents, Part II

Given that both the suspects and their victim were in their teens, it is difficult to overlook their parents, if only because some supporters pointed fingers at the suspects’ parents. That means we should look at everyone. This time, we meet the suspects’ families.

Meet The Almandinger’s
In his early teens, Erick Almandinger entered cookies in the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Now he stands convicted of murder. Clearly, he lost the through-thread of his life.

Rodney Almandinger, his father, testified in court that his son wasn’t going to school regularly that fall of 2016, and had been living at drug houses over the summer. Erick appeared to come and go as he pleased. The Sunday night that Grunwald went missing — a school night — Erick Almandinger told troopers he was at a party in Anchorage. His father testified he wasn’t worried when he looked in Erick’s room at 1:00 in the morning and his son wasn’t home.

Rodney Almandinger

State court records indicate, moreover, that the Almandinger family had some issues. Domestic violence protective orders were filed against Rodney Almandinger several times in the 2000’s by Erick’s mother, Chrystal. Rodney in turn filed for a protective order against her.

It was altogether a strange domestic situation. Rodney lived at his mother’s house, running a small stained glass business out of her basement. By all accounts — including Rodney’s — it was Myler Almandinger who ruled the roost: on the day of David Grunwald’s murder, Rodney deferred to his mother when David Evans asked if he could resume living at the Almandinger residence.

That Erick was even living with his father was yet another story. His mother had kicked him out of her house months earlier for, among other things, hanging out with kids she didn’t approve of. Yeah, those kids.

Meet The Johnson’s
In court jurors heard from Dominic Johnson’s mother, Misty Johnson, and got some insight into his life before his arrest.

“This is you to Dominic,” defense attorney Jon Iannaccone read aloud from text messages Misty sent to Dominic. “No you won’t because I’m not visiting you in jail, no one will. You sure turned out to be quite a piece of shit.”

Misty Johnson

Iannaccone read another volatile text message exchange between Misty and Dominic on November 11, 2016, just two days before troopers said Dominic took part in Grunwald’s murder. “I’m going to throw a party when your ass goes to jail, a fucking party. Say hi to your dad while you’re in there,” Misty wrote.

Misty told jurors she was upset Dominic “hadn’t been acting like himself” and that’s what prompted those messages. “He was hanging out with kids I didn’t allow over and he was very upset I wouldn’t let them over and we got into a heated argument,” Misty said.

Although she denied that Dominic was ever homeless he, too, was adrift and moving from place to place. Worse, when Misty let some of Dominic’s friends stay over, they proceeded to rob her father’s safe, stealing cash and jewelry. One of the accused robbers was none other than Austin Barrett, he of the 9mm pistol used to kill David Grunwald.

Facebook Message Posted by Misty Johnson on the Justice for David Grunwald page

Meet the Barrett’s
Little is publicly available about Austin “Andrew” Barrett’s family. We do know that he was persistently homeless. That he stayed with Misty Johnson one Thanksgiving and returned the favor by helping to steal her father’s safe, taking cash and jewelry in the process. We do know that, on the night David Grunwald was killed, Austin Barrett slept in a car in front of Devin Peterson’s house. We also know that he was in the Valley Hotel with the other suspects on December 2nd, the day troopers pulled all the threads together; he was there because… he was homeless and on the run.

Austin “Andrew” Barrett (Misty Johnson identified the watch on Barrett’s wrist as one that belonged to her father)

Meet the Renfro’s
Bradley Renfro denies participation in David Grunwald’s murder. But he was the one who purchased the gasoline used to torch Grunwald’s Bronco. And Renfro was the connection fo Alissa Bledsoe — she was his girlfriend and she gave them shelter when they were on the run after the murder. Bledsoe was also with Bradley when they tried to check into the Valley Hotel. Like his friends, he was homeless and on the run.

It was Renfro’s grandparents who were present in the courthouse at the close of Erick Almandinger’s trial, awaiting the verdict. They told reporters they believed their grandson would meet the same fate that Erick Almandinger met.

Bradley Renfro

There was sadness in that admission. No matter what the verdict for their grandson, they said, there was no good outcome. A teen was dead and the young men, including their grandson, would never have the chance at a normal life.

Meet the Peterson’s
When Devin Peterson was arrested for his role in David Grunwald’s murder, police seized his cell phone. They found a video he’d taken of an intoxicated 15-year-old being raped. Child porn charges followed quickly. Devin’s brother Damien, meanwhile, was brought in on being an accomplice in a homicide that was originally ruled an accident. With Damien Peterson the night of that murder: Austin Barrett.

According to their mother, Alanah, Damien and Devin have different fathers. She told reporters that Damien’s father lives in Anchorage and maintains a relationship with his son. Devin’s father recently moved back from Pennsylvania, Alanah said, but Devin refuses to have a relationship with him.

Alanah Peterson

Alanah Peterson, who works three jobs, says she called police repeatedly to have Devin arrested on probation violations in the hopes of getting him out of the lifestyle. “They were already doing crazy stuff, but I didn’t think anybody could kill anybody. It just didn’t seem like they gave a crap. They just took stuff from people and they didn’t care,” Alanah said, adding that she could see a change for the worse come over Devin once he started hanging with the Almandinger posse (1).

Peterson also told reporters that the public condemnation of the parents of the accused — which Alanah said has included death threats — is misplaced. “It’s not the parents’ fault,” she insisted. “At a certain age kids have to know right from wrong. If they didn’t learn it from you they learn it at church or school. This could be anybody’s child. It doesn’t have to be a bad kid to get in this situation.”

(1) Devin had been in trouble with the law since his first criminal act at the age of 11. His criminal activities appear to have picked up from age 15 on. His mother is dissembling when she attributes changes in his behavior solely to his Mat-Su Valley friends.

Sources: Anchorage Daily News, KTVA-11, KTUU, Alaska Public Media, The Frontiersman

Murder on Knik River Rd: Guilty on All Counts

May 31, 2018
After a nine day trial in Palmer, Alaska, Erick Almandinger was found guilty on all nine counts he was charged with. The now-18-year-old was found guilty on counts of Murder 1, Kidnapping, Murder 2 (intend injury), Murder 2 (Extreme Indifference), Murder 2 (Felony murder), tampering with evidence, vehicle theft and arson. The four counts of murder and one count of kidnapping are all unclassified felonies, which could each come with a 99 year sentence at a judge’s discretion.

Erick Almandinger Verdict (courtesy KTVA-TV)

By all measures, it had been a brutal nine days. Both of David’s parents — Edie and Ben Grunwald — had testified. They spent some time, of course, as character witnesses. But more crucial was their narrative of David’s disappearance. They were bulldogs as they searched for their missing son, even sanctioning a search on the Almandinger property. In the end, finding David alive was futile; they wore the look of profound loss on their faces. That said more than words could tell.

Edie & Ben Grunwald (testifying in the Erick Almandinger trial)

Victoria Mokelke’s tearful testimony brought home the pivotal role she played in the last hours of David’s life. Most heart-wrenching were her pleas to Erick Almandinger. Several days after David’s disappearance, she sent Almandinger a message at 4 a.m.: “I haven’t slept in days… I’m completely heartbroken and lost. I just want to know if my baby is safe,” Mokelke read, sobbing.

Victoria Mokelke (testifying in the Erick Almandinger trial)

Erick’s parents, Rodney Almandinger and Chrystal Carlson, also told jurors what they knew. Rodney’s father spent the better part of a day on the stand, trying to explain what he did — and didn’t — know. He spent most of his time admitting his complete and utter ignorance of what was happening literally beneath his nose.

L-R: Prosecuting Attorney, Roman Kalytiak; Rodney Almandinger; Chrystal Carlson

Erick’s defense attorney Jon Iannaccone, meanwhile, put forth a nearly-passive defense. In it, he declined to argue with the facts of the case as presented by the cops and prosecutors. The prosecution’s case — bolstered by physical evidence, cell phone pings, social media messages, security camera images, autopsy data and eyewitness testimony — was a strong one.

Iannaccone instead argued that Erick did not participate in the actual murder. He insisted that Erick went along with the others because he feared for his own life. In his closing argument, he went so far as to suggest that Erick’s so-called friends had used him, caring more about his pot than Erick himself.

Defense Attorney, Jon Iannaccone

Not that Iannaccone’s defense had been passive throughout. He had introduced several motions to suppress evidence, including four interviews Erick had with Alaska State Troopers, as well as pictures found on his social media accounts and photographs of Grunwald’s body taken at the crime scene. Those were all motions he lost.

For his part, Erick Almandinger barely registered in the courtroom. He maintained a blank look throughout the trial, save for a few suppressed smiles during conversations with his attorneys. His emotions, it seemed, were saved for closing arguments, when he was seen to shed a few tears. Sorry, Erick. Too late. “You needed to come home, get on your knees and say, ‘Grandma I fucked up.’”

Erick Almandinger cries during closing arguments

Sources: Anchorage Daily News, KTVA-11, KTUU, Alaska Public Media, The Frontiersman

Murder on Knik River Rd: Delusions of Grandeur

Erick Almandinger’s “delusions of grandeur” conversation with Devin Peterson (Facebook Messenger, transcriptions of conversations shortly after the murder of David Grunwald, with Almandinger in purple text. Courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Erick Almandinger figured he had it all worked out. His cover stories to Victoria and his father, Rodney, established that he was elsewhere when the Grunwald murder went down. As further proof, he had witnesses to the fact that he spent the night of November 13-14 at Alissa Bledsoe’s shed with his posse. Can’t be two places at once.

Yet, when Sgt. Tony Wegrzyn first contacted Erick on Wednesday, November 16th, the young Almandinger insisted he’d gone to a party in Anchorage on the evening of 13 November. It was at least consistent with what he’d told Victoria Mokelke. But Erick was fuzzy about the details, like the price of the cab ride and his exact destination in Anchorage. Those were things he should have known. Things that Wegrzyn could check up on.

How did you get there, Wegrzyn asked, knowing that Erick didn’t drive.
I took a cab.
Which cab company?
How much did it cost?
Around 60 or 120 dollars.
Where did you go in Anchorage?
Downtown somewhere.
Somewhere near… you know, the main part of Anchorage.

Just as incriminating, Erick had his Samsung tablet with him the entire time. Troopers would subpoena records from both his cell provider and Facebook. They found him in places he shouldn’t have been. The 16 yo genius was either too dumb or too arrogant to care. Maybe both.

Still, there was Erick’s naive identification with the Crips to hold reality at bay. In his fourth and decisive interview with Sgt. Wegrzyn — taken around 6:00 p.m. on December 2, 2016 — Almandinger claimed his friends “would take the fall for me if I did this. They would. I know that on everything I’ve ever believed in,” he said. They had a code of honor or something like that. You know, that gangster code of honor that homies accord each other.

Erick & friends flashing the Crips “C” sign

Sgt. Wegrzyn had to break it to him and, in the process, destroy Erick’s delusions of grandeur. His so-called, buddy-buddy friends had already pointed the finger at him. They weren’t about to take the fall for his stupidities. They were ready to confirm that Erick Almandinger was the trigger man. Yeah, you see, because to get into the Crips you have to kill somebody. Delusions of grandeur, Erick. Delusions of grandeur.

Erick Almandinger flashing the Crips “C” sign

This takes us to Devin Peterson, Erick’s proto-gangster idol. According to a sentencing memorandum released when Peterson pled guilty to hindering prosecution and evidence tampering in the Grunwald case, Devin fit the gangster role almost perfectly.

Devin Peterson in court for the Grunwald murder

Devin Peterson had spent half his life breaking the law.

“The defendant’s [Devin Peterson] first known criminal act occurred when he was only 11 years old. Since the age of 15, the defendant has been under near constant supervision as a result of his crimes. As a juvenile, the defendant engaged in multiple serious felonies, including violent crimes such as assault and burglary, as well as drug and property crimes. Of note, much of this conduct occurred while the defendant was under supervision, including the crime for which he has pled guilty. […] The defendant’s criminal history demonstrates a level of narcissism and a lack of compassion for others that is striking. Since becoming a teenager, the defendant has been engaged in a near constant state of criminal behavior. From a review of his criminal history and social media postings, it seems as if the defendant’s goals in life are to get high on a daily basis, take what he wants, and live a thug life.”

Devin did his best to live up to his image. When he lent Erick the gas cans he’d use to torch Grunwald’s Bronco, his gangster-self told Almandiger to “burn that bitch.”

But Peterson couldn’t force himself to complete the one thing he was tasked to do. When Wegrzyn questioned him early on December 2nd, Peterson said he’d received Almandinger’s pistols and taken them to another location. Armed with a search warrant, troopers found two semiautomatic pistols and another weapon — all of them loaded — in a black North Face backpack at Peterson’s home near Wasilla. Busted.

After the discovery, the cops confronted Devin Peterson. He confirmed that David Grunwald was killed by one of the guns in the backpack. Peterson added that Erick Almandinger admitted to killing David Grunwald and had given him the backpack for the purpose of ditching the guns. Game over.

Sources: Anchorage Daily News, KTVA-11, KTUU, Alaska Public Media, The Frontiersman

Murder on Knik River Rd

When I read that David Grunwald was murdered on Knik River Rd, I instinctively harkened back to Robert Hansen. This was, after all, in or near one of Robert Hansen’s primary killing fields. Further research brought several important revelations.

First, Grunwald was killed on the south side of the river, about 7 miles due east of the Old Knik River bridge. So, not in Hansen’s Knik River killing field, but too damned close. Second, law enforcement painted the murder as one where a good kid got mixed up with some bad kids. And this is where the story became profoundly disorienting: 4 white teens, who identified with the Crips gang, of all things, had killed Grunwald execution-style and then torched his car. Let that sink in.

White kids. Crips. Alaska. Alaska?

Knik River Rd

David Grunwald, 16, went missing on November 13, 2016. He dropped off his girlfriend near the Butte, Alaska, in the Mat-Su Valley, early that evening. His parents started to worry about him when he didn’t return home by about 9:30 p.m. Relatives, friends and helpful strangers mounted a concerted search, with few initial leads, for a home-schooled teen described as punctual and responsible.

Knik River Rd
David Grunwald (courtesy Anchorage Daily News; photo Edith Grunwald)

Troopers found Grunwald’s 1995 Ford Bronco around noon the next day, burned to the metal and up a dirt track at the base of the Talkeetna Mountains north of Wasilla.

Knik River Rd
David Grunwald’s 1995 Bronco (courtesy KTVA-TV)

That was about 21 miles from the house on Smith Road where David dropped off his girlfriend, according to a route search by his father, Ben. Also, at least one cellphone “ping” from David’s phone was tracked to a tower near Palmer in the hours after he went missing.

In early December of 2016, four teens were arrested and charged as adults in David’s murder, after one of them directed troopers to his body, near Knik River Rd, south of the Butte, Alaska. According to trooper interviews, 16-year-old suspect Erick Almandinger said Grunwald came to his house on Esty Drive in Palmer on Nov. 13 “to drink and smoke [pot]” in a camper trailer in the yard.

At one point, Almandinger told troopers he left the trailer and went into the house. He said a friend, identified only as “D.J.” in the charging document, messaged him and asked him to bring a gun back to the trailer.

“Almandinger said he brought a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun to the trailer and handed it to D.J., at which time D.J. bludgeoned D.G. with the pistol,” Trooper Sgt. Wegrzyn wrote in the affidavit.

Almandinger alleged that the other teen loaded Grunwald into the Bronco and they drove to the Butte, according to the affidavit. On the way, Grunwald was going in and out of consciousness and unable to defend himself, the affidavit said; during moments of semi-lucidity, he asked to be taken to his girlfriend’s house in the Butte, but his kidnappers bypassed her road and kept going.

Ten minutes later they pulled over on Knik River Rd and walked into the woods with Grunwald.

Knik River Rd
MAP: David Grunwald’s Disappearance (courtesy Anchorage Dispatch News; Hansen overlay Leland E. Hale)

“Almandinger admitted he went with D.J. as they escorted D.G. into the woods and acknowledged that D.G. was pleading for his life as they walked,” the investigator wrote.

Almandinger said D.J. killed Grunwald, according to the affidavit. He later changed his story and identified the shooter as another 16-year-old, identified in charging documents only as “A.B.”

Almandinger said he decided to destroy the evidence, and told troopers that the pair got some gasoline and drove the Bronco up a 4-wheeler trail off Sitze Road, and burned it.

They later tried to destroy the bloody evidence in the camper by burning a carpet and applying bleach to its bloodied interior. Almandinger said he then stayed in a friend’s shed for several days.

Wegrzyn wrote that it was when he contacted D.J. on Friday, December 2, 2016, that he was led to where Grunwald was killed — but only after the teen consulted with an attorney. Another investigator found a single 9mm shell casing at the murder scene.

Almandinger showed little remorse during the interrogation, Wegrzyn said. The only motive cited by Almandinger was that Grunwald “had smoked all his weed,” the sergeant wrote. “He said they didn’t get any money.”

As it turned out, Almandinger wasn’t telling troopers everything he knew.

Credit: Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, “Documents shed new light on slain Palmer teen’s final moments,” published December 5, 2016.

Arrest of Robert Hansen: Fish Necklace

Andrea Altiery was originally from Hawaii, the daughter of a prominent local family. She made her way to Anchorage in the early eighties, seeking the elusive fortune of exotic dancing. Maybe she had Rock Fever, that sometimes disorienting disease borne of being stuck on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. At any rate, after moving to Alaska one thing led to another. Somehow, she got entangled with Bob Hansen, likely on another “photo session” that promised hundreds of dollars. That Hansen killed her was certain. Her fish necklace was found among the mementoes in his attic.

There was no mistaking that necklace. It was gold and custom-made. It was one of Andrea’s prized possessions. No way would she have voluntarily gifted it to Bob Hansen.

Fish Necklace
Andrea Altiery’s Fish Necklace (photo courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

No. Bob Hansen stole that necklace after he killed Andrea Altiery. Stole it and hid it in his attic, among his other mementoes. Neither Mona Altiery nor her semi-famous father would ever learn more about their daughter.

NOTE: 10-21 = Call by Phone

Fish Necklace

Fish Necklace
Andrea “Andra” Altiery (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Arrest of Robert Hansen: Clustered Graves in the Killing Fields

That Robert Hansen would go back to the same spots along the Knik River, and leave bodies clustered there, says something about him, though I’m not entirely sure what. Was he lazy? Panicked? Careless? Or did the clustered bodies speak instead to his ritual obsessions, so that it was easier for him to revisit the gravesites and re-live the murders at his leisure? Certainly the clustered gravesites made it easier on the cops when it came time to recover them, but that likely was the last thing on Bob Hansen’s mind.

Meanwhile, the contents of a paper bag found near the clustered remains revealed the intimate details of someone who would otherwise remain unidentified. She’d been wearing a dress jacket, Levi’s and nylon stockings; even her shoes were in that improvised tote bag. She had also carried a purse with makeup and an injection kit: Bic lighter, spoon and hypodermic needle. The injection kit told troopers she was cooking drugs. That was the sign of a junkie.

And the Buck hunting knife? Possibly a contributing factor in her death. Had she flashed it at Hansen, he surely would have killed her. Not that it mattered much either way. He probably killed her anyway.



Purchase Butcher, Baker

Arrest of Robert Hansen: Angie

Known by almost everyone as “Angie,” Angela Feddern was a troubled soul. Her sister in Seattle knew that she was into drugs, and turning tricks to support her habit. She reached out. She tried to help. So did her mother. They both failed.

In Seattle Angie’s mother, Mary Radford, soon learned that her daughter’s body had been found. “I was prepared for it,” she told the Associated Press. “I knew something was wrong when she stopped calling last year. In a way, there’s some relief. You wonder what happened to them until you know for sure.”

Asked what she thought of Hansen’s plea-bargained sentence, Mrs. Radford turned bitter. “I don’t see why he should be alive and they dead,” she said.

Mrs. Radford also acknowledged that her daughter chose to be a prostitute, knowing it was a rough life. “That was the life she chose,” she said. “Angie just couldn’t find it in herself to go out and get a thinking job. She did the best she could.”

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

Angela “Angie” Feddern (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

4/26/84: Sergeant FLOTHE, Trooper VonCLASEN and helicopter pilot fly to Figure 8 Lake, grave site #ll. Figure 8 Lake is west of the Susitna River. Body located lying on the ground beneath flag placed by HANSEN. Some clothing and bone protruding from frozen ground. Unable to dig out pants without destroying evidence. Must wait for thaw. Jaw bone found lying on top of ground near pants with dental work. Jawbone removed, transported back to Anchorage.

Figure 8 Lake (Google Maps; illustration by Leland E. Hale)

Sergeant FLOTHE, Trooper VonCLASEN and helicopter pilot fly to Scenic Lake grave site #13 on Kenai Peninsula. Body left by HANSEN lying on top of ground covered with some brush. Clothing (red blouse) and small rib bone found in location pointed out by HANSEN. “Bear sign” noted around body. Ground frozen. Looked for purse, still ice along edge of lake where purse is allegedly located. Need to return in a week or two to allow for sufficient ground thaw. Seized bone and torn red womans blouse.

Returned to Anchorage with jawbone from Figure 8 Lake. Compared with known dental records on file. Positive ID from dental X-rays as ANGELA FEDDERN, missing from Anchorage approximately February 1983. Reported missing to APD Officer P.C. CANADY by JOE MAJORS, owner/operator of Murphy’s Law, a bar featuring nude female dancers. No official APD report filed. Information passed on to Troopers. FEDDERN was working as an avenue prostitute and allegedly had a date with a doctor when she disappeared.

Purchase Butcher, Baker