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 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

Paula Goulding: The Secret Rendezvous

“Dancing nude did not come easily to Paula Goulding. For the first week she only danced topless. She was a beautiful woman, however, and the woman who managed the club was patient with her. Then she finally got up the nerve to dance bottomless. She knew that the girls who did made more money than the girls who didn’t. Ironically, that was the night she made a date for a secret rendezvous with a mystery man, a date she should have refused.

“Goulding met the man at the Bush Company, where he offered her $200 to meet him for lunch. His only stipulation was that she come in a cab. On Sunday the 24th, Goulding called a cab and departed her home.”

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

Secret Rendezvous: Paula Goulding
Paula Goulding (Alaska State Troopers)


From Robert Hansen’s Confession

[Transcript lightly edited for clarity]

LH: Do you remember where the two of you [planned to] rendezvous at?

RH: Not exactly. No. Downtown most likely some place.

LH: Do you remember how she arrived there? She was supposed to come a certain way.

GF: How would you get them there so you wouldn’t be seen making the connection?

RH: That’s one thing that I thought I was always pretty careful about… And ah, I was going to meet them out in front of the Safeway there at the Northway Mall and one time down by the Post Office Mall downtown… I always made sure I was there, oh, at least half an hour, forty-five minutes ahead. I just stood there and waited you know, not where I thought they could see me, you know. And if someone pulled up with them and stayed, I just turned and took off.

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


By the time Paula Goulding met up with Bob Hansen for their “lunch date,” she was desperate and confused. Her overwhelming emotion was to leave the topless dance business behind. Hansen, ever in search of a “romantic” relationship — where the woman liked him for himself — offered to let Paula stay at his house until she figured things out. His wife and kids were out of town, so the opportunity was there.

But Paula was wary. Running scared. Before she knew it, she was handcuffed and in Robert Hansen’s airplane. This was not the secret rendezvous she had in mind.


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

More Thoughts… Cindy Paulson

By the time the movie “The Frozen Ground” was made, Cindy Paulson was married with three children. She worked with the filmmakers and, according to the credits, told her true-story for the first time. [Well, the first public telling of her story, anyway.]

She did not get to “straight” in one clean shot.

Judging from the movie’s treatment, her life was a lurid mess in the immediate aftermath of her encounter with Robert Hansen (1),(2). So raw were her emotions that, when District Attorney Vic Krumm told a hushed courtroom Robert Hansen had confessed to the murders, Cindy ran from the room in tears. Not long after a small celebratory dinner, when Hansen’s conviction came in and it looked like she’d turned her life around, she was back on the streets. It was what she knew.

It’s her emotional honesty and vulnerability that strikes me today, thirty years on. That and her “street smarts.” And her contradictions.

Especially her contradictions.

All smart and sassy one minute, leading with her streetwise self, then quickly turning into a wide-eyed teen, trying to capture the youth she’d been denied. Plotting bodily harm to Robert Hansen and then realizing she, too, might be harmed. Impetuous — wanting to run the minute he took her from his house to the car — yet patient — waiting till he was at his airplane and visible only from the waist down before attempting her escape.

Those cracks in her life story were what let the pimps in. They were also what let Robert Hansen in. Someone could promise Cindy Paulson almost anything — and she’d run toward it. Disappoint her, however, and she was just as likely to run the other direction. It was what she knew.

Run from her parents? Check. Run from her pimp? Check. Run from Robert Hansen.


Purchase Butcher, Baker

Cindy Paulson
Cindy Paulson


(1) I will quibble with one “detail” of “The Frozen Ground.” The film has Cindy move in with Sgt. Flothe and his family. In all my interviews with Sgt. Glenn Flothe — and his wife — there was NOT ONE mention of Cindy coming to live with them. Befriend her, yes. House her, no.

She was instead living at a safe-house (and, to repeat, the family who ran the safe-house attended Darla Hansen’s church). Before the safe-house, she was living in a “party house” on Anchorage’s Government Hill. It was there that Flothe effected the rescue that (temporarily) got her out of the pimps and ho’s routine.

I know, I know… it’s “the movies.” The filmmakers chose implied sex (living with Flothe) over irony (living with church folks who worshiped with the killer’s wife). It probably cost them a half-star in their rating.

(2) Actually, I can quibble about several details in the movie. But I’ll leave it at that. Quibbles.

Robert Hansen Dies at 75

Serial killer Robert Hansen died Thursday, August 21, at an Anchorage hospital. He was 75. His death appears to be from natural causes. According to the Alaska Department of Corrections, Hansen’s health had been declining for the past year.

The Anchorage Dispatch News quotes retired Alaska Trooper Glenn Flothe on Hansen’s death. Fittingly, it is Flothe who gets the last word.

“On this day we should only remember his many victims and all of their families, and my heart goes out to all of them,” wrote Glenn Flothe, a retired Alaska state trooper who was instrumental in Hansen’s 1984 capture.

“As far as Hansen is concerned, this world is better without him.” Flothe wrote.

Glenn Flothe in 1982, shortly after Robert Hansen’s arrest.

Flothe

The Anchorage Dispatch has additional coverage of Hansen’s transfer to the Anchorage Correctional Complex, prior to his death. According to troopers, Hansen had “Do Not Resuscitate” paperwork on file with the Department of Corrections. He got his wish.

Based on Actual Events

Ever wonder what it means when a movie claims it is “Based on Actual Events?” The new Nicolas Cage vehicle, the “The Frozen Ground,” makes that claim.

Frozen Ground publicity still

But what does that mean? For clues, let’s look at the Nicolas Cage character in the film.

According to IMDb, Cage plays “Jack Halcombe.” Allegedly, he’s the Alaska State Trooper who brought Hansen to justice. That’s strange, because if you look at the definitive account of the Hansen murders, “Butcher, Baker,” you will not find a character named Jack Halcombe.

That’s because there is no “Jack Halcombe,” at least in the context of the Alaska State Troopers and serial murderer Robert Hansen. Jack Halcombe is a fictional character. Nicolas Cage plays a fictional character.

The actual cop who brought Robert Hansen to justice is named Glenn Flothe. Early reports about the movie listed Flothe as the Nicolas Cage character. That changed. I’m guessing (educated guess) the reason that changed is because:

The filmmakers made up a lot of shit. Shit that Glenn Flothe was not comfortable signing off on. And to use Glenn’s name, he had to sign off on it. In the movie business, it’s called “Life Rights.” As in, I can say anything I want about you — true or false — if it helps the movie. You signed off on “Life Rights.” You can’t frickin’ sue me.

It turns out that Glenn Flothe wasn’t the only one who didn’t sign off on the made-up-shit. Here’s the complete list.

Fictional Characters in Frozen Ground

  • Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) = Glenn Flothe
  • Allie Halcombe (Radha Mitchell) = Cherry Flothe (Glenn Flothe’s wife)
    This one should be obvious.
  • Fran Hansen (Katherine LaNasa) = Darla Hansen
    Hansen’s ex-wife, Darla, has no incentive to cooperate with the filmmakers.
  • D.A. Pat Clives (Kurt Fuller) = D.A. Pat Doogan
    Pat Doogan is a good friend of Glenn Flothe, who played a critical role in getting an arrest warrant for Hansen when the local D.A. wasn’t being entirely cooperative. I’m guessing you can’t get one (Doogan) without the other (Flothe).

Ok, so it’s a fairly short list. A short list of very important characters. And when the filmmakers couldn’t navigate a closer tack to the “truth,” they bailed. Call it creative convenience. Call it “based on actual events.” Call it made up shit.

Whatever you do, don’t call it true. For that, you have to read, “Butcher, Baker.”

Butcher, Baker: Hidden City, Pt. 3

Trooper Sgt. Glenn Flothe has described Cindy Paulson (Kitty Larson), the young woman who escaped Hansen and led to his downfall, as one of the best witnesses he’s ever worked with. Hidden City: Anchorage mentions, for example, that she’d memorized the tail number of Hansen’s plane. She also memorized the location of his house. And everything in his basement.

She did so because, in her own words, “this motherfucker wasn’t getting away with it… I knew I was in trouble… But if there was any chance of me getting away, he wasn’t getting away with it.”

As in any criminal investigation, details matter.

Consider what occurred when Cindy Paulson was at Merrill Field ID’ing Hansen’s plane with an officer from the Anchorage Police Department. While they were observing the plane, a private security guard at the air field approached and told them he had seen someone at 5:14 a.m. that same day.

[The security guard] observed a white male running from that Super Cub to a green vehicle and that he noted the vehicle to have Alaska license number BJZ775. [The guard] also stated that the man was wearing a green coat and cap and that he ran from a wooded area at the rear of the airplane toward the green vehicle. When the man saw [the guard], he slowed his pace to a walk, and entered the green vehicle and drove away.

That license number turned out to be registered to a green Buick, owned by Robert Hansen. There were several people being very observant that day. None better than Cindy Paulson. But she was not alone. Details matter.

Want to learn more about the Robert Hansen murders? Read “Butcher, Baker,” by Walter Gilmour and Leland E. Hale. More here…

Butcher, Baker: Hidden City, Pt. 2

There’s a wonderful bit in the Robert Hansen portion of Hidden City: Anchorage where Marcus brings in professional tracker Ty Cunningham to give a sense of what Hansen’s victims were up against. It’s an extremely powerful segment. Except that the segment was filmed in winter snow. According to Robert Hansen:

“This was a summertime project.”

Since Hansen’s wife was a teacher, and often travelled during the summer, it kind of makes sense, you know? When the cat’s away, and all that… But let’s not take this summertime thing too far. Hansen kidnapped and raped a woman back in 1971, just days before Christmas.

Of course, he also had the good sense to take that victim to a motel.

Bonus: Video Clip: Hidden City Anchorage: Tracks of Terror (tracking in the snow)

What about the chase? It is, after all, a recurring theme in discussions about Robert Hansen. Well, the chase started the minute he first stalked his victims. But in Hansen’s universe, the chase was always (out)balanced by questions of control.

We know that Hansen worried about the intangibles. The known unknowns. The women had to be alone when they reached the rendezvous. Hansen always picked a spot where he could see everything and everyone. Even early on, he used a restraint of some type, eventually graduating to handcuffs. By his own admission, he was obsessive about the mechanical reliability of his car when he kidnapped women. Didn’t want to break down with some woman in handcuffs.

Those control issues extended to the bush. Even in the bush there’s the risk that some hooker can outrun him, even for a little while. She can kick her heels off, right? And, you know, the Alaska bush ain’t no frickin’ island. Those were troubles he just didn’t want. Given all that, it’s my view that he started shooting sooner rather than later.

Loss of control, baby. Not so good. And being “in control” ultimately trumped other considerations. Including the chase. He really, really liked this “game.” Lose control, you lose everything. In fact, there was one who got away. Yeah. She was the one who brought him down.

Quotes from Robert Hansen’s Inconvenient Confession (February 22, 1984)

RH: I only, I only used the airplane three times and maybe if I kept on going like that I would have had a problem… [But] where I have my plane parked there isn’t a lot of people in and out right there and the girl was almost more scared of being in the airplane than she was scared of me…

GF: Scared of being in the airplane. You mention that this area was pretty populated but in the winter time with skis you were somewhat unlimited as to where you could go. Your privacy was pretty much up to you. Or were you concerned about flying a long time? You mention three girls but I’m just wondering, with skis, you know in the winter, you could go just about anywhere.

RH: I could but winter time wasn’t the time to do it. Things were dormant in the winter time. This was a summertime project.

GF = Glenn Flothe
RH = Robert Hansen

Want to learn more about the Robert Hansen murders? Read “Butcher, Baker,” by Walter Gilmour and Leland E. Hale. More here…

What Happened to Glenn Flothe?

When the movie the “Frozen Ground” was first announced, the filmmakers made a pretty big deal of the fact that it was going to focus on two real-life people, Sgt. Glenn Flothe and Cindy Paulson. Or did they?

Cindy Paulson was the teenage prostitute who got away from Hansen, leading to his arrest and conviction. Sources tell us that Cindy Paulson worked with the filmmakers in telling her story. A look at the full cast and crew on IMDb confirms that, indeed, Vanessa Hudgens stars as Cindy Paulson.

Glenn Flothe was the Alaska State Trooper whose belief in Cindy Paulson helped bring Hansen in. According to the Variety story announcing the film, “Cage would portray the Alaska State Trooper who cracked the case.” Sounds like Glenn Flothe to me. Sounds like Glenn Flothe to a lot of people. But the Wikipedia entry for The Frozen Ground tells us another story:

“The Frozen Ground” is based on the true story of Alaskan detective Glenn Flothe (called Sgt. Jack Halcombe in the movie). Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a serial killer who has silently stalked the streets of Anchorage for more than 13 years.

Ok, all of this is fine, really. Stuff happens on the way from script to screen. And we notice that, while most of the cops kept their real names, other characters have not. For example, Darla Hansen is now called Fran Hansen. Huh?

But there is still something nagging me. Maybe it’s this little piece by Sheila Toomey in the Anchorage Daily News, datelined November 5, 2011:

Earwigs have been wondering why the Nicolas Cage character isn’t called by the name of the actual trooper who led the task force that nailed Hansen, Glenn Flothe. Other cop characters have the names of the real people. Maybe we’ll find out when movie publicist David Linck interviews Flothe. Linck announced Thursday that Glenn had agreed to chat on tape.

Two months on and still no sign of a Glenn Flothe – David Linck interview. Just saying.