This week on Investigation Discovery, Mind of a Monster looks at Robert Hansen, aka The Butcher Baker, who was described as a meek, mild-mannered individual but was responsible for the murder of at least 17 women, and the rape of another 30.
The Butcher Baker ran a bakery in downtown Anchorage during the 1970s and 1980s, which was a boom time for the Alaskan town due to the construction of an 800-mile oil pipeline.
The pipeline brought thousands of construction workers to the northern town, and with them came the prostitutes, pimps, strippers, and drug dealers. There were people continuously coming and going, which made it hard to keep track of everybody and made it fertile ground for a serial killer.
At first, Hansen would target any woman who caught his eye. However, over time he concluded that his chances of evading capture were increased when he targeted victims who might not be as easily missed, such as strippers and sex workers, women who had fallen through the social cracks.
Hansen would abduct the women and then would take them out of town into the wilderness by either car or in his private plane. He would then rape them.
He took some of the women back to Anchorage and gave them a warning about not talking to the cops. Unfortunately, on other occasions, he would set them free into the wilderness and then hunt them with his rifle.
In June 1983, he abducted 17-year-old Cindy Paulsen and raped and tortured her in his home. He then took her to the airfield with the intention of bringing her in the wild. Luckily, Paulsen was able to escape from his car while he loaded up the plane.
Paulsen was the only known survivor of one of his attacks, and her testimony would ultimately help to put Hansen behind bars. However, it would take another few months before the police and FBI were able to link him to the murders.
When the cops searched Hansen’s home, they discovered jewelry that belonged to missing women along with an array of firearms in his attic. They also found, hidden in the house, an aviation map that a number of ‘X’s marked on it; these X’s correlated with the location of some of the bodies discovered.
Hansen initially tried to claim he was innocent, but faced with the overwhelming evidence against him, he eventually confessed to the murder of 17 women. However, he did try to blame the victims for his own actions.
He was eventually convicted of murder in 1984 and was sentenced to 461 years in prison. He died in 2014.
Hansen’s murders were the subject of 2013’s Hollywood movie The Frozen Ground, which starred John Cusack as Hansen, and Nicholas Cage as the officer who arrested him.
More from Investigation Discovery
Follow the links to read about more serial killers profiled on ID.
Serial killer Efren Salvidar aka The Angel of Death operated for years in a Los Angeles hospital, where he would inject his unsuspecting victims with drugs that murdered them. Charged with six deaths, some believe he could have killed up to 200 of his patients.
Ted Bundy was one of America’s most notorious serial killers who murdered between 30 and 100 young women throughout the 1970s. Arrested in 1975, he managed to escape and continue killing until he was eventually recaptured and sent to the electric chair.
The Butcher Baker: Mind of a Monster airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.