Alaskan killer Robert Hansen dies

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 August, 2014, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 2014, 11:22pm


Serial killer Robert Hansen, who abducted women so that he could hunt them down in the Alaska wilderness in the 1970s, has died. He was 75.

Hansen died on Thursday at Alaska Regional Hospital after being in declining health for a year, Alaska Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sherrie Daigle said. He had a "do not resuscitate" order on file.

Hansen was convicted in 1984 after confessing to killing 17 women, mostly dancers and prostitutes, during a 12-year span. He was convicted of four of the murders in a deal that spared him having to go to trial 17 times.

We should only remember his victims. This world is better without him

The Anchorage baker also confessed to raping another 30 women in that time. He was the subject of a 2013 film, The Frozen Ground, which starred Nicolas Cage as an Alaskan state trooper investigating the killings. John Cusack portrayed Hansen.

Hansen was serving a 461-year sentence in Alaska. He had been incarcerated at a state prison in Seward and was moved in May to the Anchorage Correctional Centre to receive medical attention.

Hansen got the nickname "the Butcher Baker" because he owned a bakery in the 1970s and 1980s, as Anchorage boomed with construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. He lived with his wife and children, who knew nothing of his other life.

Construction of the 1,290km oil pipeline brought prostitutes, pimps, con artists and drug dealers to Alaska's largest city. Many who looked for quick riches left as abruptly as they arrived in Anchorage, making sudden disappearances commonplace.

Glenn Flothe, a then-trooper who helped put Hansen behind bars, told the Anchorage Daily News in 2008 that Hansen's victims initially included any woman who caught his eye, but he quickly learned that strippers and prostitutes were less likely to be missed.

On Thursday Flothe said: "On this day we should only remember his many victims and all of their families. This world is better without him."

Hansen would abduct the women and take them alive to remote places outside the city. He would drive, or fly his private plane. One of his favourite spots to take his victims was the Knik River northeast of Anchorage.

Investigators have said that in some instances Hansen would rape the women but return them to Anchorage, warning them not to contact authorities. Other times, he would let the women go free in the wilderness and then hunt them down with his rifle.

Only 12 of his victims' bodies were ever found.