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SERIAL KILLER HUNTED HIS VICTIMS LIKE WILD GAME:

Robert C. Hansen (b. February 15, 1939, in Estherville, Iowa) is an serial killer who flew his victims into the Alaskan wilderness and hunted them down like wild game.

Robert Christian Hansen, who as a child was small and sickly with perpetual acne and a severe stutter, spent much of his early life as a loner and a target for bullying from his peers and his strict, domineering father.  He married in 1960.  On December 7 of that year, he was arrested for burning down a local school bus garage, a crime for which he served 20 months in prison.  His wife divorced him while he was incarcerated.  Over the next few years, he was jailed several more times for petty theft, and drifted through a series of menial jobs.  In 1967, he moved to Anchorage, Alaska, seeking a fresh start with his second wife, whom he had married in 1963.

While he was well-liked by his neighbors and was famed as a local hunting champion, his life eventually fell into disarray again; in 1977, he was imprisoned for theft, diagnosed with bipolar-affective disorder, and prescribed lithium to control his mood swings.  He was never officially ordered to take the medication, however, and was released from prison after serving a year.  By now the father of two children, Hansen opened a bakery after his release.

He began killing prostitutes around 1980; he would pay them for sex and kidnap and rape them once they were in his power.  He would then fly them out to his cabin in the Knik River Valley in his private plane, and stalk and kill them with a hunting knife and a .223-caliber Mini-14 rifle.

On June 13, 1983, one of his victims escaped, and told the Anchorage police what he had done to her. Hansen denied the accusations — notably saying that "you can't rape a prostitute and was not initially considered a serious suspect.  Local police contacted the FBI and requested help after another body was found, and famed profiler John Douglas was brought in to assist the investigation.

Douglas theorized that the killer would be an experienced hunter with low self-esteem and a history of being rejected by women, and would feel compelled to keep "souvenirs" of his murders, such as a victim's jewelry or even body parts.  He came to suspect Hansen upon learning of Hansen's hunting skill and socially isolated childhood.  Police searched Hansen's house on October 27, 1983, and found jewelry belonging to the victims, newspaper clippings about the murders, and an array of firearms — including a .223-caliber Mini-14 rifle.

He was arrested and, days later, charged with assault, kidnapping, weapons offenses, theft and insurance fraud. When ballistics tests returned matching bullets found at the crime scenes to Hansen's rifle, he entered into a plea bargain in which he pleaded guilty to the four homicides the police knew about and provided details about his other victims in return for serving his sentence in a federal prison.

He then showed investigators 15 gravesites in the Knik River Valley, 12 of which police were unaware of. He was then sentenced to 461 years in prison plus life.

Upon conviction, Hansen was first sent to the maximum security prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  In 1988, still in custody, he was returned to Alaska.  He was one of the first to be incarcerated at the Spring Creek Correctional Facility in Seward, where he remains to this day.

 

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