I consider myself to be somewhat of a serial killer connoisseur. So, when one comes along that I’ve never heard of, I’m as shocked as a cop finding a head in a refrigerator. I know there are going to be some of you out there who know exactly who I’m talking about, but I feel that most people have no clue. I’m slightly embarrassed that I didn’t know about this guy until recently, so please don’t judge me anymore than you already do!
Who am I talking about? His name is Robert Hansen and not only is he guilty of murdering 17 woman, but he’s guilty of having a really boring name. In order to spice things up, they called him the “Butcher Baker” for reasons that will soon become obvious. Mr. Hansen was born in 1939 in Iowa to Danish immigrants and he eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and became a baker. His childhood was pretty dysfunctional and he was awkward around girls, stating that his face was like “one big pimple.” He became a loner and kept himself busy with hunting, eventually joining the Army only to be discharged a year later. The next few years were spent getting married a couple of times, going to prison for burning down a bus garage and entertaining himself with petty thefts. Eventually, this grew as stale as day-old venison and he moved with his second wife and children to Anchorage, Alaska.
This guy was well-liked by his neighbors, he won a few awards for his hunting skills and lived a quiet life with his family. Eventually, he became better known for his hunting skills rather than his baking skills and he earned that fantastic nickname.
In the 70s, there was an 800-mile pipeline being built through Alaska and Robert saw a perfect opportunity to sharpen his gun skills. Before I get into talking about his gun, just a few notes about Alaska and the aforementioned pipeline. As happens in these situations, large projects like these tend to bring lots of men to an area, along with criminal activity, drugs and prostitution. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this because it’s a tale as old as time. Prostitutes are always the best target of the murderous type because they are difficult to trace and someone can be missing for months without anyone noticing.
Anyway, Robert is living his life with his oblivious wife and children, baking bread in the morning and stalking women at night. Unfortunately, by this point, Robert no longer found refuge in hunting animals, but in hunting women. LITERALLY hunting women. He would lure women with the promise of money, get them in his car and sexually assault them. There were several times that he let women go as long as they promised that they would keep their mouths shut. The other times? He would drive them in his car or fly them out to the Alaskan wilderness in his freaking plane. He would drag them out, strip them, assault them and then release them into the woods.
Then he would chase them with his rifle and hunt them down like animals. Read it again and just think about that for a second. Honestly, I have spent WAY too many seconds thinking about this scenario and I still can’t believe it.
So on he goes, kidnapping, assaulting and killing women until the summer of 1983 when he picked up a 17-year-old girl named Cindy Paulson and pulled a gun on her. He drove her to his house, assaulted her, chained her to a post in the basement and TOOK A NAP. Then he threw her in the car and drove to the airport. While he was loading his plane, Cindy, who was handcuffed, managed to escape out of the back seat and ran for help. You know what’s amazing? She left her blue shoes in the car so that there would be proof that she had been there. Well played, Cindy. Well played.
For reasons I won’t go into, the case grew cold for several months until a detective from the Alaskan State Troopers started to put the case together. A warrant was issued, Robert’s home, car and plane were searched and, after trying to deny it for so long, he finally admitted to committing the crimes. Ultimately, he was convicted of raping and assaulting over 30 women and of killing at least 17, although more were suspected.
He was sentenced to 461 years plus a life sentence, without the possibility of parole. He died in 2014 at the age of 75.