Arrest of Robert Hansen: Mother Is Here For You, Bob

Wouldn’t you know it. Robert Hansen’s mother happened to be in town when the shit hit the fan. It had to be the one time in her life when she should have been elsewhere. As it was, the cops didn’t quite know what to do with her. It was Darla Hansen who saved the day. She found a friend who would host Hansen’s mother while the cops searched the residence.

“At the Hansen home, meanwhile, it had taken longer than expected to get everyone out of the house. Darla had been teaching and her students had to be sent home. And Bob’s mother was visiting, so Darla had to find a place for her to stay. It was nearly an hour after the troopers arrived before Darla backed the family Subaru out of the driveway, her shocked mother-in-law at her side.”

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


8:40 a.m.: Sergeant Stauber and Trooper Hughes execute search warrant on HANSEN’s plane located at Northern Lights Avionics. Plane transported and secured at CAP Hanger.

Mother

8:40 a.m.: Sergeant Haugsven accompanied by Trooper Von Clasen and A.P.D. Investigator Maxine Farrell contact DARLA HANSEN at residence. Arrange transport Hansen’s for mother.

9:08 a.m.: Trooper Bullington and Sergeant Smith serve search warrant on HANSEN Bakery.

9:35 a.m.: DARLA HANSEN transported ROBERT HANSEN’s mother from residence prior to A.S.T. conducting search.

9:35 a.m.: Search of HANSEN residence is initiated by Sgt.’s Stogsdill, Burger, Thomas and Lt.’s Jent and Kasnik.

Mother
Lt. Pat Kasnik (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

9:35 a.m.: Residence and surrounding courtilage video taped by Trooper Dekreon and photographed by Paul Edscorn.

Mother
Hansen’s House from the Rear (copyright Leland E. Hale)


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Search Warrant Served

When Sgt. Flothe memorialized the events leading up to Robert Hansen’s arrest, he reserved a special level of detail for the day the warrant was served. After going day-by-day, the narrative now went hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute. Even the casual reader could feel the pulse of the investigation quicken. It wasn’t every day that a warrant of this magnitude was served. Everyone knew that, everyone acted accordingly: this was to be a carefully orchestrated full-court press.


10-27-83: Search warrants obtained by Sergeant Flothe served on HANSEN Bakery, residence, airplane, Subaru, pickup, Buick, camper, and his person.

10-27-83, continued:

6:30 a.m.: Trooper Bullington and Sergeant Smith surveil HANSEN’s Bakery, waiting for HANSEN to finish work prior to contacting him.
6:30 a.m.: Sergeant McCann and Sergeant Stockard enroute to locate JOHN HENNING, alibi witness Paulson case.
8:26 a.m.: HANSEN contacted by Bullington and Smith agrees to being transported to A.S.T. for interview.
8:44 a.m.: HANSEN advised of rights by Sergeant Galyan and agrees to being interviewed by Sergeant Flothe and Sergeant Galyan.

Served
Sgt. Darell Galyan


“When Hansen got to the interview room he found it was already set up in the most elaborate fashion. Flothe led him into the room and sat him at a desk alone for a while. He wanted him to absorb everything.

On the desk were piles and piles of file folders, some with the names of hunting and fishing associates on them, another open to the page where his wife’s picture was pasted, with the legend DARLA HANSEN written across the top. Next to them were photographs of some of the victims, arranged so that they faced him when he sat down.

Tacked on the wall was a gigantic map of the Knik River area. On it was drawn a big red circle, with two X-marks penciled inside it. Sergeant Darrell Galyan had written in big red letters on the perimeter of the circle: HANSEN IDENTIFIED IN THIS AREA. […]

Sergeant Galyan, an affable but persistent cop, started the questioning. Flothe operated the tape recorder and kept tabs on what was happening with the various searches.

Galyan began with seemingly innocuous topics, like Hansen’s bakery, the baking business, the fact that Hansen owned a plane and was a hunter. The whole approach seemed, on the whole, biographical. Then, a little more than five minutes into the interview, Galyan started to draw the loop of questions a bit tighter.”

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


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Search Warrant Images

The search warrant authorized by Judge Carlson granted the troopers a wide swath of search targets — his house, his place of business, his vehicles, his airplane. Sgt. Flothe was more than anxious to get going, that much was obvious. He didn’t have a second to lose: Robert Hansen was an early riser and Flothe didn’t want to give the man even a fleeting chance to destroy evidence.

“Judge Carlson, one of Alaska’s leading jurists, is a scholarly man who brings gravity, wit and an incisive intelligence to the bench. He read the forty-eight-page affidavit quickly but with great deliberation. And then he was ready to make his pronouncement. “I don’t have any problem granting you this search warrant,” he said soberly.

“He gets to work early, Your Honor,” Flothe said. “And we will probably want to serve it early tomorrow morning.”

“That’s fine,” the judge said.

Sgt. Flothe almost vaulted out of his chair. Both the judge and the assistant DA gave him quizzical looks, but he didn’t care. Because if he was going to start the next morning, it would take some fast motoring.”

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


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

Search Warrant
Hansen’s House and Vehicles, Old Harbor Road (copyright Leland E. Hale)

Search Warrant
Robert Hansen’s Super Cub (Anchorage Times)

Search Warrant
Robert Hansen Police Lineup Photo


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Here Comes the Judge

More than anything, Flothe needed to go before a Judge and get a search warrant for Robert Hansen and the things of his life. All his work — and that of the APD, other Alaska State Troopers and the D.A.’s Office — was now coming to fruition.

As always, things didn’t go exactly as planned, but this time they were just speedbumps put up by the ever-vigilant watchdogs at OSPA. And when they went before Judge Victor Carlson, he didn’t hesitate to give Flothe the go ahead. It was a day Glenn Flothe would never forget. Still, there was so much more to do.


10-21-83 to 10-26-83: HANSEN 48 page affidavit for search warrant reviewed by Sergeant Flothe, D.A. Gail Voigtlander and Office of Special Prosecution, (OSPA), then re-typed and re-reviewed.

10-26-83: Sergeant Flothe, D.A. Gail Voigtlander met with Judge Carlson, obtain eight search warrants; Bakery, residence, pickup, Camper, Buick, Subaru, Airplane and HANSEN’s person, search warrants to be served on 10-27-83.

Judge
Judge Victor Carlson (in Chambers, March, 1983)


“It was October 26th, a Wednesday, when Glenn Flothe and Gail Voigtlander made their trek to OSPA. They corralled a staff member into taking a look at the affidavit. It got tedious. The attorney looked at a section, mentioned a court case that might have a bearing on the question, then moved to the next section and did the same thing. There were Supreme Court decisions they should take a look at, they were told, and other questions they should research.

Generally, though, the attorney said they had a warrant good enough to take to a judge. Finally.

That very day they took their warrant to Judge Victor Carlson. At their request, they met in chambers. Flothe didn’t want anyone learning about the search warrant early, and would ask that the search warrant be sealed by the judge.”

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


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Back Story: With Friends Like These

Sgt. Flothe wanted to talk to as many of Robert Hansen’s hunting buddies as possible. These were the friends who could, with luck, link their suspect to locations associated with the missing dancers. With Larry Bivins, Flothe hit the jackpot. With friends like these, who needed enemies.

  • Bivins put Hansen at Seward and Moose Pass, two locations on the Kenai Peninsula. Troopers already had an unsolved murder along the Seward Highway, as well as a kidnapping and rape in the same area;
  • Bivins also put Hansen on the Knik River islands and sandbars, near where the bodies of Paula Goulding and Sherry Morrow were found;
  • The Birchwood Airport, meanwhile, put Hansen just southwest of the Knik River, very near Eklutna, where troopers had another unsolved murder (Eklutna Annie).

Friends


“On 10-21-83 the affiant [Flothe] interviewed Larry K. Bivins, a past acquaintance of Robert Hansen. Bivins related that he lived next door to Hansen in the early ’70’s and on several occasions he went hunting with Hansen, primarily for sheep out of Seward, Moose Pass, and the Jim Creek area northeast of the Old Knik River Bridge. Bivins further related that on one occasion he and Hansen, using Hansen’s river boat, hunted the Knik River islands and sandbars, in the area of and across from the Eklutna Powerhouse. Bivins pointed the area out to the affiant on a map, which is the same area that the bodies of both Paula Goulding and Sherry Morrow were found.

Bivins further related that Hansen was an avid sportsman and that he owned numerous handguns and rifles. Bivins further stated to the affiant that he and Hansen got into reloading in the early 1970’s and that Hansen owned reloading equipment at that time and liked to reload rifle ammunition. Bivins related that the last time he met with Hansen was for dinner with Hansen at Hansen’s residence, possibly in 1975 and 1976, during which time they drove out to Birchwood Airport in Chugiak and Hansen showed Bivins his airplane.”


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Back Story: Dr. Rothrock Calls Out a Killer

“Affiant [Sgt. Glenn Flothe] has consulted with Dr. Irvin Rothrock, a psychiatrist, regarding this case. It is Dr. Rothrock’s opinion, having reviewed all of the available materials, that Hansen fits the pattern of a person who might be involved with the missing dancers. Dr. Rothrock bases this opinion on the fact that:

  1. Hansen appears to be an impulsive actor as reflected in his shoplifting behavior.
  2. Hansen was involved in arson at an early age.
  3. Hansen seems to pick victims who he would view as inferior to himself.
  4. Serial murderers are often times avid hunters.

Dr. Rothrock added that often times in cases such as this mementos are kept and, due to Hansen having a family, he may well keep such mementos at his place of business.

Dr. Rothrock also stated that it is only a low percentage of people who continue on thorazine and lithium on a voluntary basis.”

Rothrock
Dr. Irvin A. Rothrock

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


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Psychiatric Evaluation

Dr. Irvin Rothrock was Alaska’s leading expert on the psychiatric evaluation of murderers. Born to a farming family in Arkansas, Rothrock studied medicine and then psychiatry, eventually joining the psychiatry faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he taught for more than 12 years. He came to Fairbanks in 1977 and traveled all over Alaska performing forensic evaluations and testifying as an expert witness. Now he was being asked to evaluate one Robert C. Hansen.

Psychiatric
Dr. Irvin A. Rothrock


10-17-83: D.A. Pat Doogan returns to Fairbanks furnishes Dr. ROTHROCK with copies of HANSEN cases for evaluation.

10-20-83: Dr. ROTHROCK contacted via telephone by Sergeant Flothe reference background material previously sent to him regarding HANSEN. Information added to affidavit.


Dr. Rothrock was not the first psychiatrist to take a look at the baker.

In 1972, shortly after abducting the trooper’s daughter, Hansen was given a psychiatric evaluation by Dr. J. Ray Langdon. Dr. Langdon found that Hansen:

Exhibited a compulsive personality with through disorder, perhaps with periodic schizophrenic episodes during which he dissociated in a psychotic rather than neurotic fashion. Doctor Langdon concluded that, assuming his diagnosis to be correct, Hansen’s mental illness would be very difficult to treat successfully. Langdon included in his evaluation that Hansen in his teens used to fantasize doing all sorts of harmful things to girls.

In the late 70’s, Hansen was again evaluated by psychiatrist, Dr. Robert McMannon, who examined him in conjunction with a Larceny from a Building conviction (when he stole a chain saw from a big box store). Dr. McMannon testified at Hansen’s sentencing as to his professional diagnosis of the baker, saying he would be:

Reluctant to stop [Hansen’s] treatment by medication (thorazine or lithium) and if he did stop such treatment he would have Hansen come back for at least quarterly evaluations to review how he was doing. Dr. McMannon also stated that Hansen should always be under medical attention for his disorder (manic depression).

With that background established, it was certain that the Robert Hansen case was to be Dr. Rothrock’s biggest one to date, if not his career.


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Bob Goes Flying

Sometimes you come across something so good, you couldn’t possibly make it up. Like when Robert Hansen went flying with his son. And Stewart Felberg of Alaska Fish and Wildlife followed them.


10-16-83: HANSEN flys to Montague Island surveilled by Stew Felberg.

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

Flying
Montague Island (map courtesy Apple Maps, illustration Leland E. Hale)

Flying
Montague Island (aerial)

“When Hansen and his son took to the air at seven that morning, Officer Stewart Felberg of Fish and Wildlife was right behind them in his own plane. It was a hairy flight, by Felberg’s description. The winds were so fierce the officer turned back, but not before he observed Hansen fly to Montague Island, just southeast of Seward in Prince William Sound, and land on its southeast corner. In Felberg’s opinion Hansen was not only quite familiar with the route he took but was also a crackerjack pilot. He showed himself an ace pilot under very trying conditions.

Felberg returned to Anchorage and stationed himself next to a plane with a “For Sale” sign conveniently parked next to Hansen’s stall. When Hansen returned to Merrill Field, Felberg struck up a conversation on the general topic of planes…

“So where do you fly around here?” Felberg asked.

“Oh, there’s some nice flying up by the Knik River. I go up there and practice ‘touch and goes’ on the gravel bars. And just for scenery, maybe Lake George or around there somewhere near Knik Glacier.”

As Hansen busied himself with cleaning out the plane, Felberg watched him remove a portable rear seat from the plane. He also saw a small camera, maybe a 35-millimeter. Felberg took the opportunity to ask Johnny Hansen a question.

“This you dad’s first airplane?”

“No. This is his third airplane,” the boy said proudly. Soon he was in the car with his father, and Felberg watched them drive away.

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


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: Anchorage D.A. Gets On Board

Having Vic Krumm, the Anchorage D.A. buy into the investigation — and assign a resource to the affidavit for a search warrant — represented a huge vote of confidence. Having the FBI on board helped considerably, of course, Maybe, just maybe, they could wind this thing up with an arrest.

Flothe already knew that their fraud case against Hansen was building. State Farm insurance had two sets of photos from Robert Hansen’s house: one that showed the trophies in his den, another that showed them gone. On that basis — a burglary of Hansen’s house — State Farm had paid out an insurance claim. Troopers knew something else: when Cindy Paulson was kidnapped and held in Hansen’s den, those hunting trophies were back. Bingo. That looked a lot like insurance fraud. And Ronnie Lee, a State Farm Claims Adjuster, could help make that real.


10-12-83: Col. Kolovosky, Lt. Jent, Flothe meet with Vic Krumm, requests Anchorage D.A. assistance. Assigned Gail Voigtlander.

10-14-83: RONNIE LEE, Claims Adjuster interviewed by Trooper Von Clasen reference HANSEN Burglary.

Anchorage D.A.
Trooper Von Clasen

10-15-83 to 10-17-83: Assistant District Attorneys Pat Doogan and Gail Voigtlander meet with Sergeant Flothe – write affidavit for search warrant.

“Gail Voigtlander arrived right on time at Flothe’s office at trooper headquarters, just ahead of Pat Doogan. Flothe handled the introductions, noticing the look of total surprise on Voigtlander’s face. Doogan acted immediately to put her at ease.

“Hey, what can I do for you?” Doogan said. “Whatever I can do for you, let me know.”

They had a ton of material to go through, most of it case files… At noon, they all took a break and went to Arby’s for a hamburger. It was a quick meal. They went right back to Flothe’s office, so they could get back to work. Later that afternoon, however, Gail Voigtlander began to feel ill and decided to go home.

Doogan and Flothe didn’t see her the rest of the weekend.”

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


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Arrest of Robert Hansen: FBI Gets Involved

The discipline of criminal profiling has developed into one of many tools in the FBI’s investigatory arsenal. Although its history traces back to Jack the Ripper, in the U.S. the discipline was formalized in 1972, when the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI was formed. After successes including identification of serial killers by their “souvenirs”, this system of techniques grew into the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Analysis Program.

Another critical development came when John Douglas and Robert Ressler created a typology of sex murderers and formed the National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime. Here the FBI studied the behavioral patterns and characteristics that advanced offender profiling as a science.[1]

And it was John Douglas who showed up in Anchorage to assist the troopers in the case of the missing dancers.

FBI
John E. Douglas, FBI Profiler


10-04-83: Sergeant Flothe sends copies of HEPPEARD, [TROOPER’S DAUGHTER], unidentified victim, CHRISTI HAYES, chain saw theft and PAULSEN cases to F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

10-11-83: PAULSEN evidence shipped to the F.B.I. – received by F.B.I. on 10-18-83. Verbal reply reference semen on underpants 12-14-83. Official letter reference semen and underpants received on 1-24-84.

10-11, 12-83: F.B.I., James Horn and John Douglas from Quantico, Virginia, F.B.I. Academy meet with Sergeant Flothe A.S.T. reference profile on serial murders.

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


“From the stuff you sent us,” the FBI agents told him, “the man you want probably stutters. Is likely an excellent hunter. His wife is probably religious, and not totally aware of her husband’s activities. He’s known as a good provider and hardworking businessman. He’s successful, or at least we wouldn’t be surprised if he is.”

“So far so good,” Flothe said. “The profile fits. What I need to know now,” Flothe told the agents, “is what I can expect to find in a search warrant. As soon as we can put a profile together, I want to put it in front of the District Attorney’s Office.”

“No problem,” one of the agents said. “We think that the killer may keep a murder kit — disguises, that type of thing — so he is anonymous when he picks these women up.”

“He probably stashes things,” said the other. “Like maybe rings or jewelry or driver’s licenses or maybe clothing.”

“He likes to keep it close to him, so he can view it in private,” the first agent continued. “He takes it out and re-lives the killings. It’s a movie in his brain, and he’s turned on by the objects he’s taken from the scene.”

“If he’s really into it,” the other agent said, “the killings are all he thinks about twenty-four hours a day. Everything else is just a motion to him. His work, his normal routine, are just a motion. Everything is wrapped up with murder. His whole life, his whole thinking. He probably plans the kills far in advance.”

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


[1] Offender Profiling, Wikipedia


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