Robert Christian Hansen
By: Justice Jones
Robert was born in Pocahontas, Iowa in 1940, and was the son of a Danish immigrant. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a baker. He was shy, skinny, and suffered a severe case of acne. In school, Robert was shunned by the girls in school, so he grew up hating them and thinking of ways to get revenge. He was also bullied in school for his acne and stuttering. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Robert was described as a loner and had a dysfunctional relationship with his father. He often hunted as refuge from his life. In 1957, Robert enlisted in the United States Army Reserve and served for one year until he was discharged. He then worked as an assistant drill instructor at a police academy in Pocahontas. There, he met a young woman and married her in 1960.
Early Life (Continued)
On December 7, 1960, Robert was arrested for burning down a Pocahontas County Board of Education school bus garage. He served 20 months in Anamosa State Penitentiary. While in prison, his wife filed a divorce. Over the next few years, Robert was jailed several times for petty theft. In 1967, he moved to Anchorage, Alaska with his second wife and two children. In 1977, Robert was imprisoned for theft of a chainsaw. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was prescribed lithium to control his mood swings. However, he was never officially ordered to take the medication, so he never did.
On June 13, 1983, 17-year-old Cindy Paulson escaped from 44-year old Robert Hansen. She reported to police that Robert took her to his house and tortured, raped, and sexually assaulted her. Afterwards, Robert loaded her into his car and took her to the Merrill Field Airport. His intention was to take her to a meat shack in the Knik River area of the Matanuska Valley. However, Paulson was able to escape the car and make it to the police. When Robert was questioned by the police, he denied all accusations. Although Robert had some prior run-ins with the law, his meek demeanour and humble occupation as a baker kept him from being considered as a serious suspect, and the case went cold.
Victims, Imprisonment, & Death
Robert is known to have raped and assaulted over 30 Alaskan women. He is also responsible for murdering at least 17 of them, ranging from 16 to 41. When he was finally arrested, Robert was charged with assault, kidnapping, multiple weapons offenses, and insurance fraud. He was sentenced to 461 years plus life in prison, without the possibility of parole. He was imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary Lewisburg in Lewisberg, Pennsylvania. Robert died at age 75 in the Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage on August 21, 2014 due to lingering health conditions.