Robert Hansen

Robert Christian Hansen (February 15, 1939 – August 21, 2014), known in the media as the Butcher Baker, was an American serial killer. Between 1971 and 1983, Hansen abducted, raped, and murdered at least seventeen women in and around Anchorage, Alaska; he hunted many of them down in the wilderness with a Ruger Mini-14 and a knife. He was arrested and convicted in 1983, and was sentenced to 461 years without the possibility of parole.[3][4] He died in 2014 of natural causes due to lingering health conditions at age 75.

Robert Hansen
Robert Hansen.jpg
Hansen in c. 1983
Robert Christian Hansen

(1939-02-15)February 15, 1939
DiedAugust 21, 2014(2014-08-21) (aged 75)
Other namesBob the Baker
Bob Hansen
The Butcher Baker[1]
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)[2]
First wife
(m. 1960; div. 1962)

Second wife
(m. 1963; div. 1986)
Conviction(s)First degree murder (4 counts)
Criminal penalty461 years imprisonment without parole
Victims17– 21 killed
31+ raped
3+ victimless crimes
1 attempted murder
1 attempted rape
Span of crimes
1971–June 13, 1983
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended
October 27, 1983
Imprisoned atSpring Creek Correctional Center, Seward, Alaska (until his death)

Early lifeEdit

Robert Christian Boes Hansen was born in Estherville, Iowa, at Coleman Hospital on February 15, 1939, the elder of two children to an American mother and a Danish father.[5] The family moved to California in 1942, but returned to Iowa in 1949, settling in Pocahontas.[2] His mother was Edna Margret Petersen.[6] His father Christian Hansen (1907–1983) owned a bakery in the town, and Robert was employed at the bakery. In his youth, he was painfully shy, had a stutter and severe acne that left him permanently scarred. Not receiving the attention he wanted from the attractive girls in school, Hansen grew up hating them and nursing fantasies of cruel revenge.[7]

Throughout childhood and adolescence, Hansen was described as being quiet and a loner, and he had a difficult relationship with his domineering father. He started to practice both hunting and archery, and often found refuge in these pastimes.[7] In 1957, Hansen enlisted in the United States Army Reserve and served for one year before being discharged. He later worked as an assistant drill instructor at a police academy in Pocahontas, Iowa. There, he began a relationship with a younger woman. He married her in the summer of 1960. According to, one of his wives names was Carolyn Jean Willis.[8]

First crimesEdit

On December 7, 1960, Hansen was arrested for burning down a Pocahontas County Board of Education school bus garage, revenge for his unpopularity in high school.[1] He served twenty months of a three-year prison sentence in Anamosa State Penitentiary.[4] During his incarceration, he was diagnosed with manic depression with periodic schizophrenic episodes.[9] The psychiatrist who made the diagnosis noted that Hansen had an “infantile personality” and was obsessed with getting back at people he felt had wronged him.[10][9] Hansen's wife filed for divorce while he was incarcerated.

Over the next few years, Hansen was jailed several times for petty theft.[11] In 1967, he moved to Anchorage, Alaska, with his second wife, whom he had married in 1963 and with whom he had two children. In Anchorage, he was well liked by his neighbors and set several local hunting records.

In December 1971, Hansen was arrested twice: first for abducting and attempting to rape an unidentified housewife, and then for raping an unidentified sex worker. He pleaded no contest to assault with a deadly weapon in the offense involving the housewife; the rape charge involving the sex worker was dropped as part of a plea bargain. Hansen was sentenced to five years in prison; after serving six months of his sentence, he was placed on a work release program and released to a halfway house.[12] In 1976, Hansen pleaded guilty to larceny after he was caught stealing a chainsaw from an Anchorage Fred Meyer store. He was sentenced to five years in prison and required to receive psychiatric treatment for his bipolar disorder.[13] The Alaska Supreme Court reduced his sentence, and he was released with time served.[14]


Hansen is believed to have begun killing around 1972.[4] His modus operandi was to pick up a sex worker in his car and force her at gunpoint to his home, where he would rape her; he would then fly her out to a secluded area and "hunt" her as if she were wild game before shooting or stabbing her.[3]

On June 13, 1983, Hansen offered 17-year-old Cindy Paulson $200 to perform oral sex; when she got into the car, he pulled out a gun and drove her to his home in Muldoon. There, he held her captive and proceeded to rape and torture her. She later told police that after Hansen chained her by the neck to a post in the house's basement, he took a nap on a nearby couch.[15] When he awoke, he put her in his car and took her to Merrill Field airport, where he told her that he intended to "take her out to his cabin" (a shack in the Knik River area of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley accessible only by boat or bush plane). Paulson, crouched in the back seat of the car with her wrists cuffed in front of her body, saw a chance to escape when Hansen was busy loading the cockpit of his airplane, a Piper PA-18 Super Cub. While Hansen's back was turned, Paulson crawled out of the back seat, opened the driver's side door, and ran toward nearby Sixth Avenue.[16]

Paulson later told police that she had left her blue sneakers on the passenger side floor of the sedan's backseat as evidence that she had been in the car. Hansen panicked and chased her, but Paulson made it to Sixth Avenue first and managed to flag down a passing truck. The driver, Robert Yount, alarmed by Paulson's disheveled appearance, stopped and picked her up. He drove her to the Mush Inn, where she jumped out of the truck and ran inside. While she pleaded with the clerk to phone her boyfriend at the Big Timber Motel, Yount continued on to work, where he called the police to report the barefoot, handcuffed girl.

When Anchorage Police Department (APD) officers arrived at the Mush Inn, they were told that Paulson had taken a cab to the Big Timber Motel. APD officers arrived at Room 110 of the Big Timber Motel and found Paulson, still handcuffed and alone. She was taken to APD headquarters, where she described the perpetrator. Hansen, when questioned by APD officers, denied the accusation, stating that Paulson was just trying to cause trouble for him because he would not pay her extortion demands. Although Hansen had several prior run-ins with the law, his meek demeanour and humble occupation as a baker, along with an alibi from his friend John Henning, kept him from being considered as a serious suspect.

Detective Glenn Flothe of the Alaska State Troopers had been part of a team investigating the discovery of several bodies in and around Anchorage, Seward, and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley area. The first of the bodies was found by construction workers near Eklutna Road. The body, dubbed "Eklutna Annie" by investigators, has never been identified. Later that year, the body of Joanna Messina was discovered in a gravel pit near Seward, and in 1982 the remains of 23-year-old Sherry Morrow were discovered in a shallow grave near the Knik River.[17] Flothe believed all three women had been murdered by the same perpetrator.

Flothe contacted Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent John Douglas and requested help with an offender profile based on the three recovered bodies. Douglas thought the killer would be an experienced hunter with low self-esteem, have a history of being rejected by women, and would feel compelled to keep "souvenirs" of his murders, such as a victim's jewelry. He also suggested that the assailant might stutter. Using this profile, Flothe investigated possible suspects until he reached Hansen, who fit the profile and owned a plane.[18]

Supported by Paulson's testimony and Douglas's profile, Flothe and the APD secured a warrant to search Hansen's plane, vehicles, and home. On October 27, 1983, investigators uncovered jewelry belonging to some of the missing women as well as an array of firearms in a corner hideaway of Hansen's attic. Also found was an aeronautical chart with 37 little "x" marks on it, hidden behind Hansen's headboard. Many of these marks matched sites where prior bodies had been found (others were discovered later at the locations marked on Hansen's murder map).

When confronted with the evidence found in his home, Hansen denied it as long as he could, but he eventually began to blame the women and tried to justify his actions. Eventually confessing to each item of evidence as it was presented to him, he admitted to a spree of attacks against Alaskan women starting in 1971. Hansen's earliest victims were girls or young women, usually between ages 16 and 19 and not prostitutes, unlike the victims who led to his discovery.[19]

Known victimsEdit

Hansen is known to have raped and assaulted over thirty Alaskan women, and to have murdered at least seventeen, ranging in age from 16 to 41.[20] Those with an * beside their "Date Found" were found with the help of Hansen after his arrest.

Victim Name Age Date Missing Date Killed Date Found Details
Ceilia "Beth" Van Zanten 17 Dec. 22, 1971 ? Dec. 25, 1971 Hansen denied killing her, but is suspected because of an "x" on his aviation map.
Megan Siobhan Emerick 17 Jul. 7, 1973 ? N/A Hansen denied killing her, but is suspected because of an "x" on his aviation map.
Mary Kathleen Thill 22 Jul. 5, 1975 ? N/A Hansen denied killing her, but is suspected because of an "x" on his aviation map.
"Eklutna Annie" 16–25 ? Between Nov. 1979 – Jun. 1980. Jul. 21, 1980 She had been stabbed in the back. By the time her body was discovered in a shallow grave off Eklutna Lake Road, it had been partially eaten by wild animals.
Joanna Messina 24 May 19, 1980 May 19, 1980 Late Jul. 1980 Her badly decomposed body was found in a gravel pit.
Roxane Easland 24 Jun. 28, 1980 c. Jun. 28, 1980 N/A Hansen confessed to killing her, but her body was never found.
Lisa Futrell 41 Sep. 6, 1980 ? May 9, 1984* Her body was found just south of Old Knik Bridge.
Sherry Morrow 23 Nov. 17, 1981 ? Sep. 12, 1982 She was found in a shallow grave on the bank of the Knik River. She had been shot in the back, but there were no bullet holes in her clothing, suggesting she had been shot while nude and then redressed before being buried.
Andrea "Fish" Altiery 22 Dec. 2, 1981 ? N/A Hansen confessed to killing her, but her body was never found.
Sue Luna 23 May 26, 1982 ? Apr. 24, 1984* She was stripped nude and forced to run through the forest while Hansen hunted her like an animal. She was shot to death.
Robin Pelkey 19 ? c. January 1983 Apr. 1984* Her identity was discovered via forensic genealogy in October 2021. Before her identification, she was nicknamed "Horseshoe Harriet."[21]
DeLynn "Sugar" Frey 20 ? April 1983 Aug. 20, 1985 Her body was found by a pilot testing new tires on the sandbar of the Knik River
Paula Goulding 21[22] Apr. 25, 1983 ? Sep. 2, 1983 She was found in a shallow grave on the bank of the Knik River. She had been shot in the back, but there were no bullet holes in her clothing, suggesting she had been shot while nude and then redressed before being buried.
Cindy Paulson 17 Jun. 13, 1983 Survived She was kidnapped, tortured, and raped before she managed to escape.
Malai Larsen 25 June 1981 Between June 1981 – 1983 Apr. 24, 1984*
Teresa Watson 22 Apr. 29, 1983 1983 Apr. 26, 1984*
Angela Feddern 24 February 1983 1983 Apr. 26, 1984* Her body was found at Figure Eight Lake.
Tamera "Tami" Pederson 20 August 1982 Between 1982 – 1983 Apr. 29, 1984* Her body was found 1.5 miles from Old Knik Bridge.

Of these seventeen women, Hansen was only formally charged with the murders of four: Sherry Morrow, Joanna Messina, "Eklutna Annie", and Paula Goulding. He was also charged with the kidnapping and rape of Cindy Paulson.


Spring Creek Correctional Center, where Hansen was incarcerated for many years

Once arrested, Hansen was charged with assault, kidnapping, multiple weapons offenses, theft and insurance fraud. The last charge was related to a claim filed with the insurance company over the alleged theft of some trophies; he used the proceeds to purchase his plane. At trial, he claimed he later recovered the trophies in his backyard but forgot to inform the insurer.

Hansen entered into a plea bargain after ballistics tests returned a match between bullets found at the crime scenes and Hansen's rifle. He pleaded guilty to the four homicides the police had evidence for (Morrow, Messina, Goulding, and "Eklutna Annie") and provided details about his other victims in return for serving his sentence in a federal prison, along with no publicity in the press. Another condition of the plea bargain was his participation in deciphering the markings on his aviation map and locating his victims' bodies. Hansen confirmed the police theory of how the women were abducted, adding that he would sometimes let a potential victim go if she convinced him that she would not report him to police. He indicated that he began killing in the early 1970s.

Hansen showed investigators seventeen grave sites, in and around Southcentral Alaska, twelve of which were unknown to investigators. There remained marks on his map that he refused to give up, including three in Resurrection Bay, near Seward (authorities suspect two of these marks belong to the graves of Mary Thill and Megan Emrick, whom Hansen has denied killing). The remains of twelve (of a probable 21) victims were exhumed by the police and returned to their families.

Hansen was sentenced to 461 years in prison without the possibility of parole. He was first imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.[10] In 1988, he was returned to Alaska and briefly incarcerated at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau. He was also imprisoned at Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward until May 2014, when he was transported to the Anchorage Correctional Complex for health reasons.[3]


Hansen died on August 21, 2014, aged 75, at Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, due to natural causes from lingering health conditions.[4]

In popular cultureEdit




TV seriesEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Krajicek, David J. (August 30, 2014). "Robert (Bob the Baker) Hansen blamed his tortured adolescence for the rape and murder of dozens of women in Alaska in 1970s". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Emily McLaughlin, Megan Donnally, Carrie Draper, Jennifer Duncan (December 10, 2020). "Robert Hansen" (PDF). Radford University. Retrieved December 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b c Shedlock, Jerzy (June 27, 2014). "'Butcher Baker' Robert Hansen moved to Anchorage for medical treatment". Alaska Dispatch. Archived from the original on June 27, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d D'Oro, Rachel (August 22, 2014). "Robert Hansen, convicted serial killer in Alaska, dies at 75". Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nash Holdings. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  5. ^ Iowa, US Births (series) 1880-1904, 1921-1944 and delayed births (series)
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b DuClos, Bernard (1993). Fair Game. Svolvær, Lofoten Islands, Norway: Mondo. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-312-92905-3.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Gilmour, Walter; Hale, Leland E. (1991). Butcher, Baker: a true account of a serial murderer. New York City: Onyx Books. pp. 93–94. ISBN 9781578332236.
  10. ^ a b Lundberg, Murray (February 11, 2000). "Robert Hansen: A Serial Killer In Alaska". Explore North. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  11. ^ Tidemann, Michael (August 22, 2014). "Estherville-born serial killer dies". Estherville Daily News. Estherville, Iowa: Estherville Publications, Inc. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Serena, Katie (March 9, 2018). "Robert Hansen, the Serial Killer Who Hunted His Victims Like Animals". Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  13. ^ Hansen v. State. Justia. August 11, 1978. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Slayer in Alaska was Jailed in Other Cases, Judge Notes". The New York Times. February 29, 1984. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  15. ^ DuClos, p. 38
  16. ^ DuClos, p. 40
  17. ^ DuClos, p. 241
  18. ^ DuClos, p. 230
  19. ^ Andrews, Laurel; Hopkins, Kyle (August 22, 2014). "Serial killer Hansen dies; "World is better without him", trooper says". Anchorage Daily News.
  20. ^ Lohr, David. "Hunting Humans". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  21. ^ "DNA Match IDs Alaska Serial Killer's Victim After 37 Years". The Los Angeles Times. October 22, 2021. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  22. ^ DuClos, Bernard (August 1993). Fair Game. Mondo. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-852-86484-2.
  23. ^ Staskiewics, Keith (August 5, 2011). "Serial Killer on the Big Screen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  24. ^ "Alaska: Ice Cold Killers episode 'Hunting Humans'". IMDb. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  25. ^ "Anchorage: Robert Hansen's Most Dangerous Game, the Legend of Blackjack Sturges, Eskimo Hu". TVGuide. February 21, 2012.
  26. ^ "The Mark of a Killer (2019– ) Hunted to Death". IMDb. Retrieved June 17, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Reynolds, Scott (December 7, 2021). "Runaway". Dexter: New Blood Wrap-Up Podcast (Podcast). No. 11. Showtime. Event occurs at 28:51. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  28. ^ "Case 190: The Butcher Baker (Part 1)". Casefile: True Crime Podcast. September 25, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "Episode 43: Robert Hansen Part 1". Sticher:Morbid:A True Crime Podcast. June 22, 2022. Retrieved February 6, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Further readingEdit

  • Du Clos, Bernard (1993). Fair Game. ISBN 978-0-312-92905-3.
  • Gilmour, Walter; Hale, Leland E. (1991). Butcher, Baker: A True Account of a Serial Murder. ISBN 978-0-451-40276-9.
  • Martin, Reagan (July 9, 2013). Hunted on Ice: The Search for Alaskan Serial Killer Robert Hansen. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. pp. 116 pages. ISBN 978-1490959061.

External linksEdit