Toni Lister was 29 years old when she was murdered in Seward, Alaska. She was last seen alive on a Saturday night. Saturday, March 6, 1982, to be exact.
Could Hansen have been there to kidnap, rape and kill her? He certainly knew Seward well enough. In his own words, taken from his February, 1984, confession:
I know an awful lot of people that’s down to Seward, that goes down there for the weekend… In the spring I would take my boat and pickup and camper and drive to Seward and leave it, then just drive a car back and forth or else fly, fly back and forth, one or the two.
So that one’s a push. March isn’t quite “spring” in Alaska. But Hansen admits to being a Seward weekender.
Was Toni Lister his “type?”
This is where is gets interesting. For there is a profile to Hansen’s victims. While more suggestive than determinative, it is still worth considering.
At age 29, Toni Lister was at the upper range of the Hansen victim profile. Hansen’s oldest victim was 30 (reported missing April 24, 1983). That woman (Paula Goulding) was a bit of an outlier; although older than the others, she was new to dancing and very inexperienced. Another woman, aged “approximately” 28, reported an assault by Hansen back in October, 1975. That woman was a teacher, up in Alaska earning extra money during summer break. Also inexperienced.
The average age of the nine Hansen victims (not all killed) for whom information is available… was not quite 22. Four of them were 17 or 18. The rest were barely over 21.
Yes, there’s a pattern here. Robert Hansen was no smooth talker like the good-looking Ted Bundy. He was butt ugly and he stuttered. He preferred victims who were young and inexperienced. Or just plain inexperienced. Why? The savvy women knew to stay away from him. They knew he was dangerous.
I’d like to think Toni Lister would have known. Would have suspected. Would have seen something amiss.
But then there’s Jimmy Lee Eacker.