Christy Hayes: A Case of Missed Opportunities

For law enforcement, the Robert Hansen serial-murders have long been characterized as a case of missed opportunities. Some critics are less diplomatic. After all, Robert Hansen’s violent career spanned more than a decade.

Let it be said: In no one’s world is it normal for a naked and bleeding woman to appear on someone’s doorstep. Nor is it “normal” to find broken glass in the vicinity of an assault. The missed opportunities aren’t hard to find.


<Missed Opportunities
Robert Hansen, Charged with Murder, Leaves Courtroom, Covers Face (Hansen is 4th from left; courtesy Anchorage Times)

  • Missed Opportunities: Christy Hayes Escapes from Hansen’s Truck
    • When Christy Hayes escaped Robert Hansen’s truck and ran to Mildred Johnson’s house, Johnson observed that Hayes was bleeding — and called the police. That was the right thing to do: Johnson didn’t stop to think, “is this woman a prostitute,” didn’t care whether Christy Hayes was black, white or purple.
    • When A.P.D. Officer Hammond arrived, he photographed tire tracks and broken glass in the vicinity where Hayes said the truck was parked. That was the right thing to do. When there’s a crime, you investigate.
    • BUT Hayes told Glenn Flothe that she had left her clothes, to include a blue bag containing her dancing outfits, in the camper when she escaped. Even though Hayes was naked when she came to Johnson’s door, there is no report that the officer searched for her missing clothing.
    • It took until Hansen’s confession for authorities to find out what happened to that clothing.
  • Missed Opportunities: Christy Hayes Spots Hansen at the Bush Company
    • When A.P.D. Officer Loesch was called to the Alaska Bush Company Bar in Anchorage by Christine Hayes, she pointed out a caucasian male in the bar that was identified as Robert C. Hansen.
    • Loesch asked Hansen to accompany him to A.P .D. for an interview, to which Hansen agreed. Hansen did not explain the broken glass at the scene and Loesch did not ask him about it. The report indicates no further investigation was done on the case.
    • What if A.P.D. had been more diligent in following up on Christy’s allegations?
    • What if A.P.D. had dug more deeply into Hansen’s past offenses, including rape and attempted assault with a deadly weapon?
  • Missed Opportunities: Christy Hayes Sees Hansen at Hansen’s Bakery
    • Since Hayes quickly exited the bakery premises, the missed opportunity is fuzzier — yet it brings to mind at least one more “what-if.”
    • What if she’d lingered and, heaven forbid, taken the job? Her employment application included her address. That left her vulnerable to further predations on Hansen’s part.

Lacking action by the authorities, the repurcussions for Hansen’s behavior toward Christy Hayes were entirely self-imposed. The effect of those changes made it harder to catch him — and his violence became more focused.

  • Hansen later installed an eyebolt in his camper, so that it was easier to restrain victims.
  • According to his confession, “I never used the camper again.”
  • He restricted his activities to the summer, when his wife and children were out of town.
  • He switched to a vehicle combination that limited his passenger car to the role of transporting victims to his house and/or his airplane.
  • His airplane assumed an outsized place in his criminal activities.

Source: Statement of Robert C. Hansen, District Attorney’s Office Anchorage, February 22, 1984

(CONTINUED)


Purchase Butcher, Baker

Christy Hayes Talks About Her Kids

Anchorage District Attorney Frank Rothschild presciently noted that, if Robert Hansen had a soft spot, it was for his family. “He is a hell of a humanitarian for his family, isn’t he,” was how Rothschild put it, after the “Butcher, Baker” held up his confession over concerns about his wife and kids. That small button of empathy was the one Christy Hayes pushed when she told Hansen about her kids.

She was desperate, yes, but the mere mention of her kids was enough to give Robert Hansen pause. Maybe she could crack his resolve. Even if she couldn’t, it disrupted Hansen’s plan. That alone gave her half a chance.


[Transcript Lightly Edited for Clarity]

FR: [After you abducted her] I assume that then you, that’s when you tied her up and then you were going to drive somewhere else? Go back in the back of the camper and and get it on and then drive her back. Was that kind of the plan?

RH: Well, uh, right. Uh, uh, she, even when I was tyin … tying her up here in, uh, in North Mountain View, she kept, I kept on telling her, you know, “Just do exactly what I tell you. You’re not going to get hurt in any way, shape or form.” Uh, I said (inaudible), “I’m even going to pay, I’m going to – everything’s going to be just cool.

I said, “Just that it’s going to be me deciding when we’re done, not you.

Uh, I think that was part of the reason, you know, I was always so (inaudible). They always wanted to say when we were done, you know. I figured that, uh, if a person was going to pay for it, uh, they, they, they should be in the driver’s seat, not the gal as to when it was done.

Kids

Anyway, uh, then she kept on saying I’ve got to get home. I think she even, uh, was saying something about she had two or three kids at home, that they… they was going to be by themselves or, or uh, or something or other. I don’t know. She was going on [about] something or other and I said, “Oh, well, all right.”

She started — I went back around the pickup and started driving — and she started yelling and stuff and, and I got thinking, “Well, gee whiz, what if she’s telling the truth and I take her out here and we spent a long ti…time together? I don’t want to be responsible for somebody if their kids are home by themselves.

I said, “Well, bullshit, okay.” I come down off that drive — I can explain it better… (background noise, sigh). I think (pause) I can’t remember exactly how, how the… [stutters] the streets go. I can’t remember how I got up in, in there. Uh, drove up, down, uh, I know that main street drag that goes out through North Mountain View up there…

Kids
Mush Inn to Commercial Drive (Google Maps; Note the proximity to Merrill Field)

JE: Commercial Drive?

RH: Co… Commercial Drive. I got on that, I think I got on… on the street that goes past the Mush Inn and so forth and turned off the highway, uh, I was heading out the highway going out towards — I’m going out to Muldoon to do the normal bit out there.

Kids
Mush Inn in 2017 (Leland E. Hale)

And, uh, right, right away she, uh, started in about she had to be back (inaudible) so quick, so quick, so quick. Uh, and um, think I, I think I turned off right there (inaudible) drove up into uh, to, uh, Mountain View, up in there, pulled off one of the side streets and stopped.

And, uh, went through the deal where I was inside with her and got her tied up and so forth, I got… got back in the pickup and drove around and drove out — I think I was going to drive just out the back by Safeway and down the — I can remember, I went around the block (pause), uh, down past Safeway, down to the intersection.

She was yelling all this here time, uh, that she had to get back, had to get back. Uh, that she had her kids back home or some — her babysit… sitter, if she… if she wasn’t back… I don’t know if she had a kid or not.

Anyway, she was saying something about, urn, uh, uh, she had to be, uh, be back, and before I got to the highway there, I thought, “Aw, bullshit, what if she’s telling the truth,” you know? Uh, she has got a little child back there?

Uh, so I just drove across the highway and drove — I don’t know — I can’t remember how many blocks it is down there — and pulled in on one of the first side streets. I pulled off to the side. I thought, “Well, uh, we’ll make it short and quick right, uh, right here and I’ll take her back up and drop her off and, and, uh, won’t go all the way on out and go all through (inaudible).

Anyway, it was going to all — all was going to happen right there and then, wouldn’t you know, didn’t take as long to get there, didn’t take as long to get back.

FR: Then it went bad.

RH: Yeah.

RH = Robert Hansen; FR = Frank Rothschild; JE = Joe Evans (Hansen counsel)

Source: Statement of Robert C. Hansen, District Attorney’s Office Anchorage, February 22, 1984

(CONTINUED)


Purchase Butcher, Baker

Christy Hayes Talks to Sgt. Glenn Flothe

Flothe
Sgt. Glenn Flothe (Anchorage Times)

After reviewing the A.P.D. report, on October 5, 1983, affiant [Sgt. Flothe] personally interviewed Christine Hayes. In addition to the information contained in the A.P.D. report, Hayes told affiant the following:

(1) After Hansen parked the pickup and got into the camper to have sex with her for the agreed upon fee, she took off her clothes, but noticed that Hansen did not remove his. Then Hansen pulled a silver colored revolver with with ivory grips, which she thought was at least .357 caliber, and pointed it at her. He got the revolver from under a cushion in the camper.

He pointed the gun at her face and said, “I don’t want to hurt you, but I just don’t like quickies.”

Hansen then bound her hands and feet with guitar wire, put her on the bunk, and got in the cab of the truck and began driving to an unknown location.

During his confession, Hansen insisted he’d never bound the feet of his victims. That was a lie.

Hayes told affiant that she managed to free her hands and feet. Hansen noticed that she was free and slammed on the brakes, causing the truck to stop quickly. Hayes then fell to the camper floor. Hansen then pointed the gun at her from the cab of the truck; he got out of the cab to come around to the back door of the camper.

While he was doing this, Hayes stated she slid into the cab through the open window connecting it with the camper, and closed that window and locked the doors of the truck, so that Hansen could not get in.

Hayes tried to start the truck, but the keys were gone, so she started pulling wires from the dash. Hansen came to the window of the truck and told her to stop, that he didn’t mean to hurt her.

Hansen then broke the window on the driver’s side of the truck with his fist, and Hayes, fearing for her life, escaped out the passenger door and ran naked down the street to knock on the door of a nearby house for help.

Hayes told affiant that before she and Hansen had entered the camper the first time he had asked her if she wanted to take an airplane ride with him to Palmer, to which she replied she did not. [Emphasis added]

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

Flothe
Knik River in the vicinity of Palmer, Aerial View (Alaska State Troopers)

(CONTINUED)


Purchase Butcher, Baker

Christy Hayes: Escape from the Camper

Robert Hansen was asked about Christy Hayes and the “camper incident” during his February 1984 statement to authorities. At that point in his interview, they were not convinced he was telling them the whole truth (and were about to confront him with that fact).

What they knew was that Christy Hayes had been in a street fight. That it was not something she’d easily forget. That she was prepared to testify against him on that basis alone. And there was something else: experiences like those he had with Christy Hayes, and the camper, ultimately drove Robert Hansen to use the airplane as his preferred kidnap vehicle.


[Transcript lightly edited for clarity]

FR: [Tell us about] the black woman in 1979… That happened with her before you had an airplane?

RH: The one when I broke the window and all the…?

FR: Yeah.

RH: Yes. Oh yeah.

FR: Where were you going to drive her? What was the deal there?

Camper
Outskirts of Anchorage, 1970’s (Steven Cysewski)

RH: Sir, I wasn’t really going to go any farther than right there [west of Muldoon near the Glenn Highway]. I thought gee whiz, you know, ah, she was strictly a — well she propositioned me there in that there Embers, I think it was called at that there time. That was just a deal where I just thought that I had sufficiently scared [her that] there wasn’t going to be any problem. She told me there wasn’t going to be any problem, ah, I was just going to have sex with her. Just pull off the side of the road right there and ah…

FR: Somewhere in town?

Camper
Site of Camper Incident, 202 Stewart Street (Google Maps)

RH: …and then take her right back. I said I’m going to drop you off right back up town and that’s it, you know. But ah … When she was up in the cab of the truck… she had that locked, and had, uh, the back window there locked and I couldn’t get, uh, into her. The key for the camper was up sitting on the dash. I had, I had the truck keys, uh, my (inaudible) keys in my hand, but she was locked in the cab with the keys to get into the God damned camper. Uh, from the, the back end, you know. And, uh, she was sitting in there and, you know, had the doors locked, but I couldn’t get in to her…

And, I, I showed her right where the God damned key is, on, laying, it was laying right in fucking plain sight, you know, on, on the dash of the ca … or it was in the pickup. I said, “how in the hell can I get them”, you know. Anyway, she, and she kept on screaming and I just frickin’ got mad and I stuck my hand in and punched the windshield, or the side window, and knocked that completely out and, uh, said something about, “No, I’ll get the fucking keys,” you know, and reached in for them. And then she jumped out the other side door and ran away, you know.

Source: Statement of Robert C. Hansen, District Attorney’s Office Anchorage, February 22, 1984


Hansen professed that he didn’t like “slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am.” But his arrangement with Christy Hayes had all the earmarks of a “quickie.” As things progressed, it became clear to Christy that Hansen wanted more than that. Cindy Paulson explained it best:

“He said ‘cause he used to work on the slopes and that he would come down and spend money for a girl and go to her room for ten or fifteen minutes. And he said well he was gonna start getting his money’s worth. So he felt he should go and get the girl and… do what he pleased with her.” (Cindy Paulson)

(CONTINUED)

RH = Robert Hansen; FR = Frank Rothschild


Purchase Butcher, Baker