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Robert Hansen: Butcher, Baker

by Piper St. James

Robert Hansen made Anchorage, Alaska his killing ground between 1971 and 1983. He confessed to the rape and murder of 17 prostitutes, yet there is evidence he killed more.

As a child, Hansen was extensively bullied in school. He was extremely shy, suffered a stutter, and had horrible acne that scarred his face. According to him he not only looked like a freak, but he sounded like one too. As a result, the girls in school wanted nothing to do with him.

Little did his classmates know that their rejection would spark a resentment Hansen would carry into his adulthood.

As he got older his anger only grew. Soon his fantasies of revenge and violence were to become a reality. His unfortunate victims would be the prostitutes who walked the cold streets of Anchorage.

Hansen had a distinct pattern of killing almost two dozen prostitutes. He would pick them up in his car, rape them in his cabin, and then fly each of them out to a secluded area in the woods. This is an area he knew no one would hear them scream. No one would be there to help. This was his hunting grounds, and he would release the women only to hunt them down like animals.

Robert Hansen’s known victims

According to Hansen, his first sexual encounter with a prostitute was unfulfilling. When recalling it to police he said she pretty much just jumped on and jumped off. This lead to Hansen feeling emasculated. Early on in life he formed the belief if he was paying for sex, then he should be in control.

The unassuming bakery owner admitted to police he chose prostitutes because he saw them as “lower than myself.” He continued on, telling them “I could do things with them that I couldn’t do with a good woman.”

With the information they had, troopers obtained a search warrant for his house. This was the beginning of the end for Hansen.

After an exhausting search of the rooms the police came up empty handed. It wasn’t until they finally reached the attic that they found what they were looking for. Beneath the insulation in the attic police found the rifles he used to kill his victims. They also they found the jewelry he kept as trophies from his victims.

Perhaps the most damning evidence they found was a flight aviation map. When Hansen realized they had found this map he knew the gig was up. The map indicated burial sites. As police went over the sites one by one, the mild manner Hansen explained in detail each memory associated with it. However, for his own reasons Hansen confessed to only 17 of the asterisks he etched onto the map instead of the full 21.

Hansen’s aviation map indicating where his victims are buried.

With this evidence Hansen was sentenced to 461 years plus life. In 2014 Robert Hansen died in prison from natural causes at 75 years old.

The documentary of Butcher, Baker is available on Discovery+ as well as the movie based off of the real life murders entitled Frozen Ground starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack currently on Netflix.

Want to read more true crime?  Read about Richard Ramirez The Night Stalker here