How Did ‘The Butcher Baker’ Serial Killer Get His Nickname?

The murder and missing board, showing photos of Hansen’s victims and crime scene photos

Investigation Discovery The murder and missing board, showing photos of Hansen’s victims and crime scene photos

Investigation Discovery’s serial killer week continues Wednesday, September 2 with The Butcher Baker: Mind of a Monster, which chronicles the killing spree and capture of serial killer Robert Hansen in Anchorage, Alaska. Here is what you need to know about why Hansen was known as the “butcher baker.”

The Butcher Baker Nickname Stems From Hansen’s Family Business

Leland E. Hale is a true-crime author featured in the Investigation Discovery special about Hansen. Hale co-wrote the book “Butcher, Baker: The True Account of an Alaskan Serial Killer” with Alaska State Trooper Walter Gilmour. The book description of Hansen reads, “To all who knew him, Robert Hansen was a typical hardworking businessman, husband, and father. But hidden beneath the veneer of mild respectability was a monster whose depraved appetites could not be sated.”

It continues, “Alaska State Trooper Walter Gilmour and writer Leland E. Hale tell the story of Hansen’s twisted depredations — from the dark urges that drove his madness to the women who died at his hand and finally to the authorities who captured and convicted the killer who came to be known as the ‘Butcher Baker.'”

The nickname came about in the media because of Hansen’s family business running a bakery in town. He was a family man that was well-liked in the community. His wife, Darla, taught kids with special needs at a local church school.

“He was a quiet guy, he was friendly. I didn’t pick up any of the dark side that later surfaced, I didn’t pick up any of that,” said local pastor Wayne Coggins in the ID special. “I knew he had a business as a baker … I went in there a few times. He was just a regular guy. In our church, he actually never really attended any of the services, but Darla, Robert’s wife, was a woman of faith … she was a teacher in our school, a very, very good one.”

Hansen Eventually Confessed to 17 Murders And Is Suspected of Several More

In 1983, after a search warrant yielded a find of jewelry that matched the victims’ jewelry, Hansen was arrested and interrogated. He eventually led authorities to 12 graves they had yet to discover, bringing his total to 17 victims: Roxanne Eastland (body never found), Joanna Messina, Lisa Futrell, Sherry Morrow, Andrea Altiery (body never found), Sue Luna, Paula Goulding, Malai Larsen, DeLynn Frey, Teresa Watson, Angela Feddern, Tamera Pederson, and two women whose identities were never determined that became known as “Eklutna Annie” and “Horseshoe Harriet” based on where their bodies were found.

There were three women that Hansen denied killing but whose graves were marked on his aviation map: Ceilia Van Zanten, Megan Emerick, and Mary Thill.

As part of a plea deal, Hansen pleaded guilty to four murders — Sherry Morrow, Joanna Messina, Eklutna Annie (a body that was never positively identified), and Paula Goulding. He was sentenced to 461 years plus life in prison without the possibility of parole. He died in prison in 2014.

ID’s Serial Killer Week has two more specials: The Serial Killer Among Us: Phillip Jablonski on Thursday, September 3, and BTK: Chasing a Serial Killer on Friday, September 4, both at 9 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

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