Arrest of Robert Hansen: Murder Weapon Jackpot

What the troopers needed was to hit the proverbial jackpot. This jackpot was one filled with the evidence that tied Robert Hansen to the kidnapping, rape and murder of the “missing dancers.”

After an all day search, and no jackpot in sight, Hansen’s attic was the only place troopers hadn’t searched. It was Lieutenant Kasnick who volunteered to go up there. The trooper was violently allergic to almost everything, but soon he disappeared through the trap door, flashlight in hand, ready to brave seven inches of fiberglass insulation, the most irritating substance known to man.

Jackpot
Lt. Pat Kasnik (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

“The attic was cramped and Kasnick soon found himself on his hands and knees, crawling on the beams above a sea of pink. This would not be fun. And it would take forever…

Fifteen feet east of the chimney, in a spot right over the garage, Kasnick stumbled across something. But even after a black bear hide, sheep skin and beaver hide were transported downstairs, and every inch of insulation along the chimney was thoroughly checked, there was no sign of the valuable evidence they sought.

After probing thousands of square feet of attic, sometimes with his fingers alone, only a few feet remained. Kasnick reached his hand deep into the surrounding insulation and groped around. As he pushed on it, it gave way, showing a hollowed out cache. Suddenly it was Christmas morning.

In the corner was a Remington 552 rifle, .22 caliber. A Thompson Contender 7mm single shot pistol. An aviation map, with marks on it. Some jewelry, including a gold arrowhead necklace. A few newspaper clippings. A Winchester 12-gauge shotgun. And, best of all, a .223 caliber Mini-14: the murder weapon.”

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

Jackpot

Hansen’s Weapon Cache (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Looking back on Sgt. Flothe’s detailed list of the weapons found in the Hansen residence, remember the almost casual, throw away line next to some of the items? The one that said, “Found in attic, row 9 north?” That small detail is homage to Lt. Kasnick’s slog through Hansen’s attic insulation. That was the jackpot.


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