Born at Pocahontas, Idaho, in 1940, Hansen was the son of a Danish immigrant who followed in his father's footsteps as a baker. In his youth, Hansen was skinny and painfully shy, afflicted with a stammer and a severe case of acne that left him permanently scarred. (In later years, he would recall his face as "one big pimple.") Shunned by the attractive girls in school, he grew up hating them and nursing fantasies of cruel revenge. Hansen was married in 1961 and divorced within the year, following his first arrest, on charges of arson . Six years later, he wed another Pocahontas native and she followed him to Anchorage, Alaska, where he opened his own bakery and prospered in a new land, safely removed from the painful memories of childhood and adolescence . Hansen took flying lessons and purchased his own private plane, earning a reputation as an outdoors man and hunter who stalked Dahl sheep, wolves, and bear with a rifle or bow and arrow. In 1972, Hansen was arrested twice more, charged with the abduction and attempted rape of a housewife (who escaped his clutches) and the rape of a prostitute (who did not). Serving less than six months on a reduced charge, he was picked up again, for shoplifting a chain saw, in 1976. Convicted of larceny, he was sentenced to five years in prison, but the verdict was overturned on appeal, the Alaska Supreme Court regarding his sentence as "too harsh." Unknown to local authorities, Hansen's visible activities were only the tip of a very lethal iceberg. According to his subsequent confession , Hansen preyed consistently on women in the decade between 1973 and 1983, murdering 17 and raping another 30 who survived. As targets, he selected prostitutes, "exotic" dancers and the like, abducting them by airplane to the wilderness outside of Anchorage, where they were forced to act out Hansen's private fantasies. "If they came across with what I wanted," he explained, "we'd come back to town. I'd tell them if they made any trouble for me, I had connections and would have them put in jail for being prostitutes." Resistance -- or demands for payment after sex -- resulted in assorted victims being murdered, sometimes with the ghoulish touch of Hansen stripping them and stalking them like animals, making the kill with a hunting knife or his favorite big-game rifle. The first indication of a killer at large came in 1980, when construction workers unearthed a woman's remains near Eklutna Road. Stabbed to death in 1979, she was never identified, dubbed "Eklutna Annie" by police assigned to work the case. Later that year, the corpse of Joanna Messina was found in a gravel pit near Seward, and a special task force was organized to probe the killings. Topless dancer Sherry Morrow had been dead ten months when hunters found her body in a shallow grave beside the Knik River, but the discovery brought authorities no closer to a solution in their case. In 1983, Hansen decided to save time and energy by bringing his victims home. He called it his "summer project," laying the groundwork by packing his wife and two children off on a European vacation. Next, he began running ads in a local singles newspaper, seeking women to "join me in finding what's around the next bend, over the next hill." On June 13, 1983, a 17-year-old captive escaped from Hansen en route to his airplane hangar, handcuffs still dangling from one wrist as she ran for help. Her charges brought Hansen to the attention of task force detectives, and he ultimately confessed to a series of 17 murders, including that of Paula Golding, found by hunters in September 1983. On a flying tour of the wilderness, Hansen began pointing out graves to state troopers, and they recovered eleven bodies over the next eight months. Several victims remained anonymous, their names unknown even to Hansen, but others were identified as Rox Easland, Lisa Futrell, Andera Altiery, Angela Fetter, Tersa Watson, and Delynn Frey -- all reported missing from the Anchorage area during Hansen's reign of terror. On February 18, 1984, Robert Hansen pled guilty on four counts of first-degree murder, in the cases of "Eklutna Annie," Joanna Messina, Sherry Morrow, and Paula Golding. Charges were dismissed in the other cases, but it scarcely mattered, as Hansen was sentenced to-a term of life imprisonment plus 461 years.
Robert Hansen führte ein perfektes Doppelleben, als hart arbeitender und wohlangesehener Bäcker und Mustervater - und als einer der aktivsten Serienmörder in der Geschichte Alaskas.
Zwischen 1973 und 1983 flog der erfahrene Pilot und passionierte Jäger Prostituierte und Striptease-Tänzerinnen zu seinem entlegenen Jagdhaus in den Wäldern Alaskas, um sie dort zu vergewaltigen und zu ermorden.
Nachdem er seine Opfer tagelang mißbrauchte, ließ er sie schließlich in die eisig kalte Wildnis fliehen, um sie mit seinem Jagdgewehr "zu erlegen".
Dabei hatte Robert Hansen ein beachtliches Strafregister, angefangen von Brandstiftung als Jugendlicher in Iowa, über Diebstahlsdelikte, Vergewaltigung und Entführung in Alaska. Es gelang ihm allerdings immer wieder, freizukommen und er war ein durchaus angesehenes Mitglied der Gemeinschaft. Zum ersten Mal geriet er unter Verdacht, nachdem es einer Prostituierten gelang, nackt aus seinem Flugzeug zu springen und so dem sicheren Tod zu entkommen. Im Zuge der Ermittlungen fand man mehrere Frauen, die mit Hansen beängstigende Erfahrungen gemacht hatten. Bald stellte sich der angesehene Bäcker als ein manisch-depressiver, kleptomanisch veranlagter Brandstifter und Vergewaltiger heraus, der möglicherweise sogar der gesuchte Serienkiller sein konnte.
Als die Beamten sein Haus durchsuchten, fanden sie neben 30 illegalen Waffen "Souvenirs" der Opfer und Landkarten, wo die Gräber von Opfern eingezeichnet waren. Robert Hansen gestand 17 Morde, die er als sein "Sommerprojekt" bezeichnete. Er verteidigte sich damit, er hätte seine Opfer Moral & Anstand lehren wollen. Schwer bewacht wurde Hansen mit einem Helikopter entlang des Knik River in Alaska geflogen, wo er ziemlich genau die Tatorte bezeichnen konnte.
1984 wurde Hansen zu 461 Jahren Haft plus lebenslänglich verurteilt, die er der Lewisburg Federal Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania absitzt. Dort träumt er davon, mit seiner eigenen Story einen Bestseller zu landen - zwei Verlage haben ihm bereits Verträge angeboten...