What did Robert Hansen do?
Robert Hansen was an American serial killer who murdered at least 17 women in and around Anchorage, Alaska between 1971 and 1983. It is believed Hansen was responsible for many more murders.
He was known to pick up sex workers in his car, hold them at gunpoint and force them back to his home, where he would rape them and then take them to a secluded area and hunt them before shooting or stabbing them.
Police believe his first murder was of 18-year-old Celia van Zanten, who was kidnapped on the 22nd December, 1971, and she froze to death in the wilderness after getting away from her abductor. He denied involvement in her death, and there was no conclusive evidence he was her attacker, but it does seem likely he was involved, as his modus operandi fit the crime.
How was Hansen caught?
On the 13th June, 1983, 17-year-old sex worker Cindy Paulson got into Hansen’s car, and Hansen pulled out a gun and drove her to his home.
He held her captive, raping and torturing her. He then put her in his car and took her to Merrill Field airport, where he said he intended to take her out to his cabin, which was only accessible via boat or bush plane. Paulson saw an opportunity to escape when Hansen was pre-occupied loading his airplane, with Paulson in the back seat of the car, her wrists cuffed in front of her body. She exited the car and made a run for it.
Hansen chased her, but Paulson flagged down a passing truck. The truck driver drove her to the Mush Inn, and she called her boyfriend. The truck driver then called the police.
Hansen was later arrested and convicted in 1983, then sentenced to 461 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Where is Robert Hansen now?
Hansen was imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, but was sent back to Alaska in 1988 and incarcerated at Lemon Creek Correctional Centre. He was then imprisoned at Spring Creek Correctional Centre until May 2014, when he was transported to Anchorage Correctional Complex for health reasons. Hansen died of natural causes later that year due to lingering health conditions at age 75.
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