Convicted Alaska serial killer Robert Hansen, who gained the nickname of the “Butcher Baker” for abducting and hunting down women in the wilderness during the state’s oil pipeline construction boom in the 1970s, has died at age 75.
Mr. Hansen died on Aug. 21 at Alaska Regional Hospital after being in declining health for the past year, Alaska Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sherrie Daigle said. Mr. Hansen had a “do not resuscitate” order on file with the agency, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Mr. Hansen was convicted in 1984 after confessing to killing 17 women, mostly strippers and prostitutes, during a 12-year span. Mr. Hansen was convicted of just four of the murders in a deal that spared him having to go to trial 17 times.
The Anchorage baker also confessed to raping another 30 women in that time.
Decades later, in 2006, Mr. Hansen rejected a request to be interviewed by The Associated Press.
“I do not care so much for myself, but you journalist [sic] have hurt my family so very much,” Mr. Hansen wrote in a typo-riddled, unsigned letter from Alaska’s Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward.
Mr. Hansen was the subject of a 2013 film titled, The Frozen Ground, which starred Nicolas Cage as an Alaska State Trooper investigating the slayings. Actor John Cusack portrayed Mr. Hansen.
Mr. Hansen was serving a 461-year sentence in Alaska at the time of his death. He had been incarcerated at the Seward state prison and was moved on May 11 to the Anchorage Correctional Center to receive medical attention.
Mr. Hansen owned a bakery in a downtown mini-mall in the 1970s and 1980s. He lived across town with his wife and children, who knew nothing of his other life.
Construction of the 1,300-kilometre trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the 1970s brought prostitutes, pimps, con artists and drug dealers to Alaska’s largest city, all aiming to separate construction workers from some of the big money they were pulling in. Many who looked for quick riches left as abruptly as they arrived in Anchorage, making sudden disappearances commonplace.
Glenn Flothe, a trooper who helped put Mr. Hansen behind bars, told The Anchorage Daily News in 2008 that Mr. Hansen’s victims initially included any woman who caught his eye, but Mr. Hansen quickly learned that strippers and prostitutes were harder to track and less likely to be missed.
Mr. Hansen would abduct the women and take them to remote places outside the city. Sometimes he would drive and other times he would fly his private plane. A licensed pilot, Mr. Hansen told investigators one of his favourite spots to take his victims was the Knik River northeast of Anchorage.
Investigators have said that in some instances Mr. 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 with his rifle.
Only 12 bodies of the 17 women Mr. Hansen confessed to killing have been found. The others were never located.