Walter J. Gilmour: Hansen Interviewed After Third Party Report

In this installment, Walter Gilmour talks about the follow-up interview of Bob Hansen conducted by Investigator Sam Bernard. From the police perspective, they were doing things by the book. In this case, though, the chapters in the third party reporting system got slightly out of whack.

Walter J. Gilmour

“While he awaited word from the victim, Barnard interviewed Hansen. In that October 14, 1975 interview, Hansen denied abducting or raping any woman on the 25th of September. In fact, he told an entirely different story.

“According to Hansen, all he knew anything about was a ‘dark haired girl’ who he had met at the Kit Kat Club in Anchorage the previous summer, when his wife was out of town. He said they had struck up an acquaintance and she had agreed to go to her place for sex. As they drove to her residence, the girl told him it was going to cost $100.

Kit Kat Club, 1977 (courtesy Lynn McConnell photographs and papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage — 1977)

“I became upset,” he said. ‘And decided to drive the dancer back to the Kit Kat Club. She got mad, started saying obscene things and c-calling me names. But I didn’t do nothin’ to her…”

“Do you own a pistol, like the one the victim described?” he was asked.

“I’m a convicted felon. I can’t own a gun… Besides, I-I was in Seward th-that day, fi-fishing.”

“In the typically zany sequence that seemed to dog us to Hansen’s benefit, two days after Barnard talked to Hansen, he got a call from Sheryl Messer. The rape victim had positively identified the photograph as that of her assailant. Messer also said the dancer still refused to talk directly to the police out of fear for her life. The case was put on hold and, if we got lucky later on, would end up in an archive somewhere in Juneau, the state capital.”

A couple of things to notice here. The first is that, in the face of third party reporting, Hansen played the naif, like he was the dumbest of the dumb, fresh off an Iowa farm. Why you know, I was talking to this here girl in that there club and she said she wanted to take me home. I thought it was just cuz she liked me and wanted to screw my brains out. (You can supply your own midwest twang.)

Second, as part of his alibi Hansen places himself in Seward. In Seward, where not one but two women disappeared during his visits to that remote coastal town: Megan Emerick and Mary Thill. In this case, the third party reporting system managed to eke something unintended out of the ever elusive baker.

Robert Hansen Police Lineup Photo

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