THEIR STORIES, TRUE-CRIME BLOG
(Pictured: Robert Hansen. Photo Credit attributed to https://ihorror.com/roberthansen/.)
411: Trigger warning: Sexual assault and rape. This blog post contains mentions of sexual assault and rape. Please read with caution or feel free to skip this post.
On Nov. 23, 1981, a woman by the name of Sherry Morrow went missing. The story goes, Dale Yonkoske reported that his girlfriend, Morrow, was missing. He last seen her when he dropped her off at a bar called Wild Cherry the night prior. On Sep. 12, 1982, a group of hunters found a body in a hollow grave near the Knik River in Matanuska-Susitna Borough in Alaska. This area was particularly accessible by motor vehicle, boat, or airplane. Morrow was killed with a .223-caliber rifle. On Sep. 28, 1982, another body was found by the Anchorage Police Dept. Then, on June 13, 1983, a woman was found alive, running down the streets half-naked and handcuffed. The police department guessed they had a serial killer on their hands. However, former Detective for Homicide/Sexual Assault at Anchorage Police Dept., Maxine Farrell, had been saying this for years.
“I went to my superiors, advised them that there was a serial killer because of the number of girls I was collecting as missing persons and they laughed at me and said no, you’re wrong,” Farrell said. “They thought I was stupid.”
She was anything but stupid. A lot of these victims that were being found happened to work in sex work. Of these women that were brutally attacked and were sex workers, Marrow was one of them. But, the question is, who was committing these atrocious acts? Enter Robert Hansen. He was born on Feb. 15, 1939 as Christian Hansen in Estherville, Iowa. Robert was a seemingly normal man (*cough* aren’t they all?). He was married, had two children, owned a bakery, owned a cabin in Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and he loved to hunt and fly.
On June 13, 1983, Cindy Paulson, 17, a young sex worker in Achorage, was in the downtown area. Hansen offered her $200 if she performed oral sex on him, and she accepted and got into his car. Paulson thought that Hansen seemed like a shy man as he offered to go to a more disclosed location. However, that assumption changed quickly when he pointed a gun to her head and told her not to struggle. He drove her to a blue, one story house on Old Harbor Road in Anchorage, Alaska. This was Hansen’s home that he shared with his wife and two children. He took Paulson down into his basement where he tortured and raped her for five hours. Then he forced her back into his car and they arrived at an airport. Hansen told her that he had to get a different seat to put in his plane so he could tie her up properly. He planned to take her to his cabin, also called the “meat shack,” where he would torture and kill her. When Hansen made his way out of the car, Paulson made a run for it.
With Paulson’s confession and explicit details of Hansen’s house and plane, police were able to search Hansen’s home. In it they found an aviation map marked with 24 “X’s” that labeled the murder and burial sites of his victims, a soundproof room in the basement, a .223-caliber rifle, and items from his victims. Hansen confessed to the murders of 17 women, although it is suspected there were many more. He was sentenced to 464 years plus life in prison. Hansen had no possibility of parole. When asked why Hansen did the things he did in an ID documentary (“Mind of a Monster), he said something awful. “I guess it made me feel masculine or powerful.” Hansen said. “Or in control of my life.”
Hansen died in prison of natural causes in 2014 at the age of 75.
For this blog post, I gathered information from the following sources: