Arrest of Robert Hansen: John Henning Finally Rolls Over

Whatever John Henning’s ultimate intent — at the time of Hansen’s arrest he was less than cooperative — the notion that the criminal justice system might start bundling him with Bob Hansen had a sobering effect. Blame it on the reality of his erstwhile friend’s “summer hobby.” If things played out badly, Henning faced charges of aiding and abetting a serial murderer. Yeah, John Henning rolls over just the way the troopers predicted he would.

And Robert Hansen’s alibis turned into a shambles. Henning would now tell the truth about Robert Hansen. His friend Bob never was at his house the night of Cindy Paulson’s kidnapping and rape, Henning would declare at the upcoming trial. So would his wife and son. Bob’s protectors were finally coming clean.

2/10/84: Sergeant FLOTHE, Sergeant HAUGSVEN met with JOANNE and JOHN HENNING and son DARRIN at the District Attorney’s office. D.A. FRANK ROTHSCHILD also present. Discussed testimony with regards to upcoming PAULSON trial.

Sgt. Glenn Flothe

D.A. Frank Rothschild

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Backstory: Glenn Flothe Interviews A.P.D. Officer Baker

Sgt. Flothe’s interview of A.P.D. Officer Gregg Baker turned out to be portenous. These were the things that get said between the lines. The nuances that don’t always make it into a police report. As every investigator knows, these things are invaluable. Just hearing that Hansen stuttered in the presence of Baker confirmed what Cindy Paulson had told them.

How many men in Anchorage fit this profile as well as Robert Hansen?

“On September 22, 1983, after reviewing the A.P.D. report, affiant interviewed A.P.D. Officer Gregg Baker. Baker stated that in addition to the information contained in the report, he recalled being present with Robert Hansen during his interview by [A.P.D.] Investigator Dennis, and that Hansen had made the remark that, ‘You can’t rape a prostitute, can you?'”

Robert Hansen’s Stutter (creepy audio)

“Officer Baker also told affiant that the ammunition under the seat in the green Buick sedan was, to his recollection, either .30-06 caliber or .223 caliber, judging from its shape, and his ten years in law enforcement. Baker also stated that he saw a pair of rubber surgical gloves in the Buick on the back window shelf. Baker further saw a small hole in the support pillar in the den area of the residence, but no bolt or other attaching device in it. He saw another small hole, like a bullet hole, in the pillar just above the floor, as previously described by Cindy Paulson.

“In the garage, Baker saw a large supply of powder for reloading ammunition, and dies for cartridge reloading, but he could not recall what caliber ammunition the dies were for.

“Baker stated that when he had first contacted Cindy Paulson at the Big Timber Motel, she was very upset, and concerned that she might be in trouble because she was a prostitute, but wanted to help the police in spite of this because she was afraid of the man who abducted her would hurt somebody else if he wasn’t caught.

Big Timber Motel (Copyright Leland E. Hale 2017; the building is condemned but was recently sold to a developer)

“Baker stated he had taken the handcuffs off Cindy Paulson and placed them in A.P.D. Evidence.

“Baker recalled that one of the weapons in the hidden basement storage area in Hansen’s garage was a Thompson Contender, which Baker noticed because it is an unusual weapon.

Thompson Center Arms Contender (7mm, single shot)

“Baker stated that he did not check the caliber of Hansen’s Contender, but he knows from experience that it is available with interchangeable barrels in many different calibers, including .30-30, .223 and .222.


Baker stated that he recalls Hansen spoke with a stutter, just like the man Paulson described has her assailant.”

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

The Arrest of Robert Hansen: His Possessions & Obsessions

This phase was all about Hansen’s possessions. The places (and things) where troopers were most likely to find him. But then there is something else. The obsessions.

Two sentences was all it got. Ten words, almost casually dropped. Ending with, “Reports to follow.” (Click for sample) These are among the most tantalizing words in Flothe’s narrative. What’s in those reports? We hang on edge.

Meanwhile, Flothe and Haugsven were chasing locations with a car and a camera. They were on the Hansen loop, a scarily compact circuit, documenting Robert Hansen’s haunts and his possessions. They found the things of middle class life in Alaska — even the airplane, it turns out — in a State with the highest per capita airplane ownership in the United States.

9-16-83: HANSEN residence photographed by Sergeant Flothe and Sergeant Haugsven. Residence accurate in location and description to PAULSEN statement.

Iowa advises of HANSEN’s 1961 Arson conviction. Reports to follow.

Source: Sequence of Events Leading to Arrest of Robert C. Hansen, 1/31/84, Sgt. Glenn Flothe (“Ruff Copy”)

More details were found in Sgt. Flothe’s affidavit. No question, they were on the hunt, in what can be described as the “down and dirty” phase.

“On September 16, 1983, affiant drove to 7223 Old Harbor Street in Anchorage, and took photographs of the residence at the address from the street. Copies of these photographs are attached hereto and incorporated as Exhibit #2.

Hansen’s House, Old Harbor Road (copyright Leland E. Hale)

“On September 16, 1983, affiant drove to Merrill Field, Anchorage, and took several photographs of a blue and white Super Cub aircraft with tail number N3089Z, and a gold Chevrolet pickup, Alaska license number 0757BN. Copies of these photographs are attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit #3.

Robert Hansen’s Super Cub (Anchorage Times)

“On September 16, 1983, affiant drove to the vicinity of 828 East 9th Avenue in Anchorage, and took an exterior photograph of Hansen’s bakery. A copy of this photograph is attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit #4.”

Former Site of Hansen’s Bakery — 9th Avenue View (Google Streetview; illustration, Leland E. Hale)

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Backstory: Sherry Morrow Reported Missing

Street life is a fluid through which restless souls wander. Sometimes, for a minute or two, its citizens connect; sometimes they become friends. Sherry Morrow’s backstory is instructive: if it can be said that a friend is someone who misses you when you’re gone, then Sherry Morrow had friends. One of them went to the police and reported her missing. Missing and presumed dead.

Fourth Avenue, Downtown Anchorage

“On November 23, 1981, Dale Yonkoske reported to A.P.D. that his girlfriend, Sherry Morrow, was missing. Yonkoske told Officer Russell that Morrow was 23 years of age, with light brown hair and blue eyes, approximately 5’6” tall, approximately 125 pounds, and that he last saw her at approximately 11:30 pm, on Monday, November 16, 1981, when he dropped her off at the Wild Cherry Bar on East 4th Avenue.

“He stated that she was to meet a girlfriend named Lisa, stay the night with Lisa, and go to a doctor’s appointment the next day. Yonkoske also stated that he had talked to Lisa, who had told him Morrow stayed the night at Lisa’s house, but left the next day and was not seen after that. Yonkoske stated he had checked with Morrow’s doctor, and Morrow did not show up for her appointment on November 17. Yonkoske also told Officer Russell that when he last saw Morrow she was wearing silver wire frame glasses, blue jeans, and a baby blue ski jacket with darker blue trim on the shoulders.

(Courtesy Anchorage Times)

“Affiant {Sgt. Glenn Flothe] has been informed by Alaska State Trooper Sergeant Lyle Haugsven that on September 12, 1982, Haugsven was notified that a human body had been discovered in a shallow grave on the north shore of the Knik River approximately 25 miles north of Anchorage.

“On 9/13/82, Sergeant Haugsven went immediately to the scene and observed the decomposed remains of a female victim in a shallow grave on a gravel sandbar in an area accessible by vehicle, river boat or small aircraft.

“Haugsven observed the body to be fully clothed in blue jeans, baby blue ski jacket with darker blue trim on the shoulders, sweater, panties and bra. He also observed that an Ace elastic bandage was wrapped around the victim’s head and face from forehead to nose secured with metal clips.

(Courtesy Anchorage Times)

“Sergeant Haugsven also observed and seized a single .223 caliber cartridge case from the grave. Haugsven also observed that the victim was not wearing shoes or boots, but that a pair of moon boots were also in the grave. A metal key marked with the number 18 was found near the grave. This key remains unidentified as of October 25, 1983. No identification or purse was found in or near the grave.”

Sample Key (not the actual item)

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Robert Hansen Plays A “Good Samaritan”

During his confession, Robert Hansen describes a rendezvous with a woman that overwhelmingly resembles Paula Goulding. The woman is scared. Wants to get out of the business. Doesn’t know what do to next. Finds an unlikely Good Samaritan. That was Paula’s story.

Born in Hawaii, new to Alaska, formerly employed as a secretary, this dancing in the clubs routine was more than Paula Goulding had bargained for. So much so that, at first, she only danced topless. But heeding the cries of “take it all off” meant she would make more money. Eventually, she did what they wanted. She took it all off — and, almost immediately, made an ill-advised date with Robert Hansen.

Good Samaritan: Paula Goulding
Paula Goulding (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Is it really Paula that Hansen describes? There are differences in the account, to be sure. The woman Hansen talks about was working at different clubs than the one Paula was known to be working, both before and after her encounter with the “Butcher, Baker.” And, Hansen claims, he didn’t ask her out a second time. Still…

Hansen mentions seeing this woman at the Wild Cherry which was, in fact, very close to the Bush Company — where Paula worked at the time of her disappearance. Given the sometimes fluid state of his memory — and the fluid state of women working the Anchorage strip — it is possible that he confused the two, both of which were on Anchorage’s infamous Fourth Avenue (1).

[Transcript lightly edited for clarity]

RH: This gal here was working at… Captaln Ahab. She was working there and I walked in and this one girl was sitting by herself at a table. And I walked up and she was sitting there all withdrawn and so forth and I sat down and talked to her and she was, I could tell she was very very upset, what you call scared stiff.

Then [saying] “I can’t believe I’m doing this, I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I said oh, gee whiz, what’s wrong, something I can help you with or whatever? And she says, she just came up and signed her contract or something to dance at the [club and] that she didn’t want to do it. She said she just couldn’t stand the thought of getting up on stage in front of a bunch of people and taking her clothes off. She says she just wanted to get away [from] there.

Good Samaritan: Kit Kat Club
Kit Kat Club, One of Anchorage’s Many Topless Clubs (Stephen Cysewski)

Well, I told her I’ll, of course, right away I guess I’m thinking, gee whiz, maybe this is one I can — my family was gone — maybe I can get her to come stay with me, you know. So I just out and out said, “Hey, you know, I have a home here in town, would you consider coming with me?” And she said, “Are you serious?” And I said, “Yes, I’m serious.” She just said, “Don’t go away.”

She just got up, walked in the dressing room and come out with a coat on and some stuff in a bag, which I found out later was her clothes. She still wore her costume and just walked up to my table and says, “Lets go.” And [we] left and got out and walked out and got in my car, she says, “I got some stuff that’s at The Sleeping Lady.”

And we drove down there and she said, “Park right there in the parking lot,” and she ran in the front door there and she was scared about going in there. I asked her two or three times do you want me to go with you. She said, oh no, that would cause [a] lot more problems. Just “no, no I can’t do that, just please stay here, please don’t leave, don’t leave.”

Robert Hansen is playing the Good Samaritan

She went inside, then before long there was another girl I could see, running to a window in there and looked out and looked at me. And then she left and then both the girl that I’ve taken with me, and the other girl that looked, come down to the door and they had two or three sacks full of clothing and stuff. And they, she put the stuff in my car and we left and I drove to my home and we got home and so forth and we sat and talked for a little while. She was just saying that she was just petrified, scared that she didn’t want to go back and dance there any more.

Then, you know, I got in there and I asked her, you know, we were talking for a little while, I asked her right out, would you care to go to bed now, and she sat there for awhile and she just, she [shed a] few tears, cried a little bit. She said no, she [was] just sorry, she didn’t mean to be a party pooper and so forth, she said she couldn’t do that and that she was just too scared to go back.

I said well, gee whiz, I hate to be callous about it and so forth but, you know, my understanding was that you were gonna stay with me if you was gonna stay here. Gee whiz, you know, is there someplace else you want to go? I’ll take you. She said she didn’t have any place to go. Well, I said I didn’t know what to do with her either.

Turns out the “Good Samaritan” wants something in return

I went and called up on the phone, I don’t know the right name for it, there is a shelter here in town for abused and battered women, and all of this jazz like this here. And I called them up and explained I had a lady here that didn’t have a home, she didn’t know where to go, she’s scared. I don’t believe I told that she was a dancer or anything else. I could have, maybe I did. Anyway. They give me the address where to take her down in a home in South Mountain View, or in Fairview. I drove her down there and spoke very very briefly with the lady that was running the place.

Good Samaritan: Mountain View
Mountain View, Alaska (Stephen Cysewski)

I left, but then I was up town sometime later. I can’t, maybe it was a few, maybe it was a week or two later. The girl was back dancing again in one of the places. It seemed like it was a different place, so maybe the Wild Cherry across the street, someplace. But I was very very surprised. As a matter of fact, I think I walked up to her and asked her. “Gee whiz you change your mind about dancing?” She just kind of looked at me and [said] something to the effect, yes, I had to, or I changed my mind, or something or other.

FR: Did you try taking her out after that?

RH: No. This one here girl didn’t proposition me. I mean, she was in there, she was scared, she, I felt she didn’t even belong there. And I wouldn’t — if she hadn’t had a place to stay, she would have ended up staying at my place, whether there was anything between us or not, until she found another place. All the girls that are working, you know, they are not prostitutes. Some of them just don’t have another means of making a living. I don’t like what they do, really, but it’s a situation that that’s where they are at and that’s where they are making a living.

Good Samaritan: Topless Club Anchorage
Topless Club, Anchorage

If they just want to dance, why, well, to hell with them. A lot of other girls throughout the world are dancing for a living, whether topless or bottomless bar or on a stage or wherever. They may not be morally right but for what they are doing [sic], but I can understand it and that’s never just, well anyway.

RH = Robert Hansen; FR = Frank Rothschild

(1) My personal view is that Hansen was talking about Paula Goulding. There are too many similarities for this to be mere coincidence.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Knik River, Part 5: Lonesome Death, Far From Home

The picture of Robert Hansen scrambling in a panic does not comport with the image of a cool, calm, collected serial killer. In fact, a simple deviation from his plan — like a stray airplane flying overhead — seemed capable of disrupting his most carefully conceived objective. Troopers, meanwhile, were closing in on a match between what Hansen told them and what they already knew. Though hers was a lonesome death, this woman would not go unidentified.

Lonesome Death: Paula Goulding & second body
Grave Sites, Knik River (Alaska State Troopers; notation by Sgt. Glenn Flothe)

[Transcript lightly edited for clarity]

GF: I’m curious about one thing. This last girl that you talked about, where you had problems out there in the sandbar and the airplane flying over — that girl — what happened to her shirt or sweater or her garment? There was something unusual there that we saw, that we’re looking for an explanation for.

RH: Well she still had — all the way — I know the first — the last time I caught her ah, I caught her by the back of her shirt and I know it ripped at least part way off then ah, and then you know — when I — when I ripped it back down, she halfway stumbled down to her knee and then that’s when she seen I had the rifle again in my hand, and she kept going on about that, “you’re [gonna] shoot me, you’re going to kill me.”

And I said no, just — I’m not, you know. I’m sorry about your — I mentioned then to her something — I’m sorry that I tore your clothes. It was hanging half off her shoulders and so forth. Then she started struggling again some more there. I don’t know if it got ripped more off during the struggle or — I know I lost some buttons in the confrontation there ah, I know ah, but ah, I know her clothes were ripped on that, but they should have been on her.

GF: That’s what I was looking for. You answered my question.

RH: Okay.

LH: How many times was she shot?

RH: I remember the gun going off ah, how many times it went off I don’t know. Once, twice, three times. I don’t know. An automatic you know – as a matter of fact you know – I’m still – pushed her off and she come back again and I was holding the gun here because I was gonna – I think I even shot at her once with the rifle and this time things were going bad and ah, I think I just used it something like a pistol. I don’t know. I don’t know if I squeezed my hand once, twice, three times, whatever. I’m sorry I don’t know. Maybe I squeezed it more times than I hit her. I don’t know. Obviously I hit her at least once. If it was more than once I can’t tell you.

LH: Bob, did you try to pick the brass up?

RH: I don’t think so. You said you found some brass out there.

LH: Unh huh. Yeah, there was.

RH: Obviously I didn’t. If I had picked up some of it up, I would have picked it all up.

LH: Beings we’re on this subject, how did you meet her?

RH: I pretty sure I met her in – seems like that one was met in the Bush Company. I’m not sure on that but I’m pretty sure.

GF = Glenn Flothe; RH = Robert Hansen; LH = Lyle Haugsven

The woman Hansen was talking about was Paula Goulding, a Kona, Hawaii, native who’d worked as a secretary in Fairbanks before moving to Anchorage to try her hand at dancing. Her lonesome death, far from home, was underscored by that fact: she was new to the game and Robert Hansen took advantage of her inexperience.

Lonesome Death: Paula Goulding
Paula Goulding (Alaska State Troopers)

“Paula was reported missing in April 1983 by a friend, who told APD that she hadn’t been seen since the 24th of the month. The friend, a woman who was Paula’s roommate, told APD that Goulding was a Caucasian female, 30 years of age, about 5’7” tall, weighing about 125 pounds, with short, curly hair. She said that both of them were dancers at the Great Alaska Bush Company in Anchorage.

“Hunters found her decomposed remains buried in a very shallow grave on the sandy riverbank. When troopers investigated the site, they had seen exactly what Bob Hansen described. The murderer had been in great haste or had panicked. The body was still clothed. She was wearing unbuttoned and unzipped blue jeans, a striped sweater that had been cut in half in front, a bra that had also been cut in half, and tan boots. There was brass in her grave, brass that was recovered by Rollie Port.

Lonesome Death: evidence recovery
Evidence Recovery (courtesy Anchorage Times)

“At the autopsy conducted the next day, several facts were determined. The female victim had been in her late twenties or early thirties. She had been killed by a single small-caliber gunshot wound to the sternum. The bullet had passed through her heart.

“The state of decomposition was such that fingerprints could not be taken. They did have an intact jawbone, and they finally identified her by matching the jawbone to her dental charts.”

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

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Knik River, Part 4: When Things Went Bad

“When things went bad,” was Robert Hansen’s way of saying he killed someone. The phrase elides the fact that, in every way imaginable, his killings were intentional. Hansen created the situation, placed vulnerable young women in that situation and then, when the moment struck — when they acted out their most natural instinct to escape — Robert Hansen pulled the trigger. Not once. Multiple times.

Escape attempts, he reasoned, were betrayals. More than betrayals, though, they represented loss of control. That’s the one thing he had to have, the one thing he didn’t have. There was no control over his impulses — early on, when he stole a chainsaw, his psychiatrist said as much. So, if he couldn’t control himself, maybe he could control someone else. And when that failed, his anger knew no bounds. Things went bad.

[Transcript lightly edited for clarity]

RH: I laid both my pistol and the rifle up against this shack here and then walked back in to her in there and got her freed and got out you know. Up until that time you know, ah, even what’s — when that guy first flew over — you know, everything was just right. As a matter of fact the plane come over for the first time and I said, there comes a plane. I said let’s ah, let’s get out of sight and, boy you know, she just right away gonna – got over and got behind some bushes and ah, done everything she could to keep out of sight, because I said:

“You know if that son-of-a-bitch lands were going to have a problem. I don’t want a problem.”

Things Went Bad: Aerial View, Knik River
Alaska State Trooper plane, above the Knik (Alaska State Troopers)

RH: She done everything in her possible at that time to keep there from being a problem. And ah, at the airplane before when we took off you know, she was — boy, when it come time to get her into the airplane from the car, she just ran around the airplane to get in quiet. She even asked me “should I duck down.” I said it’s not important. I said just sit there and sit quiet. No problem. Just done everything she could to do exactly what I told her, so that there wouldn’t be a problem. I think I had her convinced of this.

Things Went Bad

But the problem was, I think that when she was there in the meat shack — maybe I shouldn’t have called it a meat shack to her, maybe that’s what maybe got her mind to thinking, I don’t know. I thought about it a lot of times but I don’t know the answer. I know when she — I come back there, just started walking out of there with her, she started, “You’re going to kill me aren’t you? You’re going to kill me.”

I said no I ain’t going to kill you. The problem is over with. The guy is gone.

“Oh no, no, you’re going to kill me.”

She just slapped at me and she started running, you know, she started running — the river’s out this way — and she started running this way. I caught up to her and ah, I got her stopped. I said now look, it’s over. There is no real problem, the guy is gone. It’s all cool now, you know. But she had got hysterical and I couldn’t get her calmed down. She just, ah, the more I tried to talk to her, maybe it was because I was getting excited, but she just got more and more hysterical and she broke away from me again and ah, started to run, you know.

Things Went Bad
Hansen’s .223 Rifle (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

I just reached back you know, the rifle was laying there and ah – or leaned up against the building — I grabbed — reached back — I took a couple steps back and grabbed that, I ran and caught — and I caught her again and I said now look — I said don’t make a bad thing worse. Don’t — stop — it’s okay. But then I had a gun in my hand and she said, “You’re going to kill me right now.”

Then she — it just went completely, things just went completely bad again. If that son-of-a-bitch hadn’t circled in there, it would have never happened, but that’s — as a matter of fact I’d never had one with me that tried as hard to keep it under wraps, you know. But being there I think when she was by herself there she just – confined in there – that’s when things went bad.

Things Went Bad: Frank Rothschild
Frank Rothschild, Anchorage Prosecuting Attorney

[FR = Frank Rothschild]

FR: Was it with the .223 that you shot her?

RH: Yes.

FR: Right in the woods there?

RH: Yes. By this time we was out closer to — we were still in the woods but we was almost out by the riverbar or river, where the gravel starts going towards the river. There’s still some trees there.

FR: Then what did you do?

RH: Well, the only thing I could do. I didn’t even have a shovel or nothing with me there, you know. I’d went back to the shack there and I got some boards off that and used them for a shovel and dug a hole out there as much as I could and ah, pulled her in and that was it.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Knik River, Part 2: Unexpected Company

The Knik River is close enough to Anchorage that small aircraft frequent the area. It’s good flying country, the river on a meander, slashing across itself as it makes its way past Pioneer Peak and empties into the sea. In places like this, Robert Hansen’s worst nightmare was unexpected company. A skilled pilot, with fat tires, can land on the many gravel bars of the Knik and take in the sights up close.

Robert Hansen was such a pilot. But he wasn’t the only one. It was hard to tell, sometimes, if another plane was just on a flyover or had more serious intentions. For a man like Robert Hansen, up to no good in the first place, the best course was to think the worst. Unexpected company could end up getting people killed.

[Transcript lightly edited for clarity]

RH: I landed out there and ah, it was all fine, you know, right away I reached in and ah got her loose — we — awful hard for me in the first place to get her out of the airplane when she was still handcuffed up, you know. So each time, you know, I just reached in there and unhooked her, so she can grab the back of the seat and window supports in front, you know, then she can step on out and ah, I grabbed her after she stepped down.

Unexpected Company: Knik River
Knik River, Aerial View (Alaska State Troopers)

RH: The spot that you land out there is all gravel, then there’s some woods over here. And there’s a shack in here, it was — or — when they first — excuse me — it was a frame for a tent cabin, in other words the walls were only about so high, but now they added — the people that own it or claim it or whatever, they’ve added higher walls around it now and enclosed it. And then they have a meat shack out here, which it’s the same way, it’s only half walls around, but then with a roof on it, but screened in with a door on it so they can — there’s a bar through the middle of it so they can hang moose meat and stuff in it so it can cool down — flies don’t get to it and so forth.

Unexpected Company
Gravel Bar Landing, Knik River (Dan’s Aircraft Repair)

RH: I imagine that’s what this was put out here for, someone wanted to hunt moose out here. And ah, they was probably reaching here by riverboat or fourwheel drive truck. You can’t drive your — if you know the river at all, the river is real firm. I’ve seen tire tracks going through this, so I know people have been through there. I could never get my pickup through there but it’s possible, ‘cause I’ve seen the tire tracks. Anyway, although of course when I found this spot here, you know, I was going by tire tracks of planes out here. You can see where planes have been landing out here numerous times.
Unexpected Company
On the Gravel Bar (Dan’s Aircraft Repair)


RH: Anyway I landed here and pulled down here, and in a ways, and stopped my airplane. Ah, and got her out and so forth and got the handcuffs off and just took her by the arm. When you’re down there you can see the shack here. I said to her this is where we’re going to spend the day, you know, and ah, walked in here — just walking in here.

Just as we was walking in here, goddamn a damn plane come down the river — he came from up river, going down around and big circles over — he made a pass around. Oh shit — that son-of-a-bitch was going to stop.

Purchase Butcher, Baker

Bob Hansen & Ted Bundy: A Tale of Two Killers

I lived in Seattle in the mid-70s, when young women started disappearing, when warnings were broadcast against hitchhiking, when every woman I knew moved in a bubble of fear. Reports soon emerged that a witness had seen a man on crutches, wearing a leg cast, struggling to carry a briefcase. Another reported the man had asked her to help him carry the briefcase toward his Volkswagen. Soon, a name emerged. “Ted.”

Several years later, in the late ’70s, I took a job at the Washington State Energy Office. It was a successor agency to the Department of Emergency Services (DES), where Ted Bundy worked in the mid-70s. Ted had been arrested in Florida by then and many of my colleagues had worked with him. They all thought him guilty. All but one: Carole Boone.

Carole Boone was the tall, whip-smart woman who resided on the other side of my cubicle. She was also in my car-pool for the one-hour commute from Seattle to Olympia. In everything she was articulate, rational and grounded. Except for her blind spot.

Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy, preparing for trial

Ted was seen by many as handsome, charismatic and well-spoken. He’d worked in Republican politics in Washington state — which partially explained his job at DES — and, based on recommendations from party figures, he was accepted into law school at the University of Washington. That Carole Boone could fall for him — they were married during his Florida homicide trial and she bore him a daughter — says volumes about Ted Bundy’s powers of persuasion, even as most of our DES colleagues rolled their eyes at her obsession with Ted’s innocence (1).

Ted Bundy: FBI Most Wanted photo

Bob Hansen was no Ted Bundy. He was homely, could barely speak without a stutter and charmed no one, expect perhaps his wife, Darla — and even that was dubious.

Hansen Lineup Photo
Robert Hansen Police Lineup Photo

What Hansen relied upon was the willingness of young women to perform sex acts for money, that being the only “charm” that Bob Hansen owned. Once he’d captured them, Hansen depended on fear to control them. For that, he had much in common with Ted Bundy.

As the following video and excerpt from Hansen’s 1984 confession reveal, Hansen’s attempts to induce fear in his victims was unrelenting. [FR = Frank Rothschild]

FR: So what’s the plan to get ‘em to the plane and get ‘em in the plane?

RH: Just scare the living shit out of ‘em — I mean that’s — boy I mean really bad you know — uh — just tell ‘em out and out — hey you know — if anything starts to go wrong I’m gonna probably have to shoot half the people in this damned town, you know.

FR: Did you threaten to throw ‘em out of the airplane if they caused problems — things like that too?

RH: No. I don’t think I ever said that. As a matter of fact they could see that would be virtually impossible, you know. How in the hell am I going to fly the airplane, turn around and get somebody out of the back that I — on account of my seat, I could hardly reach them. Of course I don’t know if they would know that. But anyway, no, I never said nothing like that to them. I would probably mention to them once I got them where I was going to go, ah, that, if things don’t go right boy this is where you’re going to stay, you know. Undoubtedly I probably said that to them. But that again was just more or less to make sure that things did go right. I was — the entire time I want to keep upon — pressing upon them that we wasn’t going to have any problems, I wasn’t, you know. I just didn’t want any goddamn problems…

(1) Boone was, understandably, devastated when Ted Bundy ultimately confessed to dozens of murders.

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Hansen’s Victims: Bodies Near Sarah Palin’s Wasilla

Wasilla’s most famous personality is not Robert Hansen, though he spent many days in the vicinity, mostly hunting. The most prominent person in these parts, of course, is Sarah Palin, who grew up — and rose to prominence — in Wasilla.

Wasilla: Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin with Hunting Rifle (Scope Features)

Wasilla’s a place where — with Anchorage in the rear-view mirror, and the city finally gone — one starts to feel the distinct pull of the Alaska Bush.

Chugach Mountains from Wasilla

A few miles out and that’s exactly where you are. There’s hunting. And fishing. Kayaks and canoes. Dog sleds and snow machines. Miles and miles of untouched — or barely-touched — landscape. Did I mention hunting?

Chimo Gun Store, Wasilla (photo Brian Adams; Sarah Palin buys ammo here)

Although Robert Hansen’s “Alaskan Nightmare” usually took him a little bit east of Wasilla, and south of Palmer, along the Knik River, he did leave at least two suspicious marks on his map, north of these two towns. The topic of those marks did, of course, come up during the map-reading portion of his confession:

Robert Hansen: Okay. Could we go ah (pause). The last one’s here, ah…
Frank Rothschild (Prosecutor): Over towards Susitna?
Robert Hansen: Yeah. East of here, ah, the Susitna River, but you know, in… in between there and Anchorage. (pause) These up here don’t mean nothing [#18 and #19]. Did… there’s nothing there. There’s two down here though (#9 and #11).
Glenn Flothe (AST): Out in northwest of Anchorage [ED. NOTE: across Knik Arm, among the Mat-Su lakes].

In Hansen speak, the Wasilla marks do not signify victim burial sites. Based on his overall facility with the maps, however, the cops and prosecutors overseeing his confession came away with another impression. After an involved back-and-forth about assuring the safety of Hansen’s family — and intermittent progress identifying victims on the maps — the officers took a break and Hansen left the room. They didn’t realize the tape was still rolling.

Vic Krumm (DA): He’s not even half done.
Lyle Haugsven (AST): He does know where every one of them is at.
Vic Krumm: He’s not even half done.
Frank Rothschild (Prosecutor): No but he is a hell of a humanitarian for his family, isn’t he.
Lyle Haugsven (AST): Are we off the record or…
Frank Rothschild (Prosecutor): Yeah.

It’s worth repeating: “He does know where every one of them is at.” [Emphasis added]

Flothe’s Map, north of Wasilla-Palmer (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Hansen’s Map, north of Wasilla-Palmer (courtesy Alaska Public Defender)

  • #18 — Unknown (denied by Hansen; Palmer-Fishhook Road, near Little Susitna River)
  • #19 — Unknown (denied by Hansen; Wasilla-Fishhook Road, near Little Susitna River)

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