Robert Hansen was born in Iowa, but left his mark on Anchorage Alaska. As a child, he was very small and seemed to completely lack social skills. His shy nature made it difficult for him to connect with other kids, and he also struggled with a stutter that made communication even more difficult. Pairing this with severe acne, Robert Hansen was far from the womanizer that he hoped to be. Even as he grew older, he seemed to struggle immensely with women and it began to turn him sour. It is believed that this played a large role in his eventual killings.
If he were charged today, chances are that the media would brand him as an “incel” which is a popularized term that stands for involuntary celibate. As he grew older, he began to hate women, often taking comfort in the thought of harming them for denying him their affections. Even though he eventually did marry, they were divorced within two years for unknown reasons. He married again one year later and had two children. Despite this, his hatred for women continued to manifest.
Hansen: Known Arsonist
Before he was a killer, Robert Hansen was an arsonist. He was placed in jail for nearly two years prior to being released. In prison, psychiatrists set to work in an attempt to determine if he was a public hazard. They ultimately determined that he suffered from mania and schizophrenia, often highlighting his obsessive focus on revenge. Doctors found that he held strong vendettas against those who upset him, often seeming to highlight any perceived issue as a personal attack.
A Fresh Start
As the seventies rolled in, Robert Hansen was living in Alaska with his family and on the surface, things were going well. He was a baker, a fact which would eventually earn him the title “The Butcher Baker” in the news. He was a known hunting expert and his neighbors liked him well enough. What those close to him did not know was that in private, he was using his hunting talents in more disturbing ways. Over the years, Hansen has developed a taste for a very specific kind of prey: women.
A Victim Ignored
What is most disturbing about the murders committed by Robert Hansen is the fact that one of his victims actually escaped and went to the police for help, only to be denied. Cindy Paulson, a local minor, was reportedly solicited for sex by Hansen. He offered her several hundred dollars in exchange for certain sex acts. As soon as he had her in his car, Cindy was immediately held at gunpoint and driven to his home. It is unclear where his family was at this point in time. However, we do know that he tied Cindy up in the basement before proceeding to abuse and rape her. Afterward, Hansen decided to move Cindy to his cabin. As he prepared to load her into a personal plane, Cindy was able to slip out of the car and made a daring escape. She was picked up, while handcuffed, by a passing civilian who dropped her off at a local hotel.
Immediately, Cindy went to the police for help. This minor had been abducted, raped, and abused, and had taken every step to lead the police to her assailant. In fact, she had gone so far as to leave behind a personal belonging in the car for police to find. Despite this, the police investigation was immediately closed. Hansen convinced the police that Cindy was in the wrong and had been attempting to get money from him. Police sided with Hansen, allowing him to walk free and kill many more women.
Missing Women Found
While Hansen walked free, police had begun to find bodies along the side of the road. Girls had gone missing and were never found. Known sex workers were slowly beginning to disappear. Police began looking for a hunter with a sour history with women, and they had let Hansen slip right through their fingertips. Ultimately, over 30 women were assaulted by Hansen because he was able to walk free. Nearly 20 women, if not more, were killed by Hansen, some because police sided with a rapist over a victim.
The Killer, Caught
When police finally looked into Hansen, the evidence was overwhelming. He had a map of the places that he dumped the bodies of his victims. He had a collection of weapons used for the crimes. More importantly, he had trophies that he had stolen from several of the victims that were eventually identified by the families. Hansen admitted to abducting women, then setting them loose in the woods and hunting them like animals. If the police had taken Cindy seriously, a minimum of 6 lives could have been saved. Instead, the human hunter roamed free until he was caught again and imprisoned until his death.