How Did ‘The Butcher Baker’ Serial Killer Die?

A family photo of serial killer Robert Hansen.

A&E TV A family photo of serial killer Robert Hansen.

Robert Hansen was a prolific serial killer, responsible for at least 17 murders in Alaska in the 1970s and 1980s. Ahead of Investigation Discovery’s special about him called The Butcher Baker: Mind of a Monster, here’s what you need to know about his prison sentence and how and when he died.

Hansen Died in Prison in 2014

In May 2014, Hansen was moved from Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward to the Anchorage Correctional Complex because his health began declining. Department of Corrections deputy director Sherrie Daigle told the Alaska Dispatch at the time that the 75-year-old Hansen was in medical segregation and was currently stable.

Hansen remained in the Anchorage Correctional Complex’s medical facility until August 2014, when he died of natural causes. At the time, the department of corrections told the Anchorage Daily News that his health had been deteriorating for the past year.

“On this day we should only remember his many victims and all of their families, and my heart goes out to all of them,” Glenn Flothe, a retired Alaska state trooper who helped bring Hansen to justice, told the Anchorage Daily News at the time, adding, “As far as Hansen is concerned, this world is better without him.”

Hansen Was Responsible For at Least 17 Murders

When Hansen was arrested, he led authorities to 12 bodies and confessed to two more murders where a body was never found. The victims included 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.

In addition to those 14, there were three women that authorities suspected Hansen murdered because their graves were marked on his aviation map. Their names were Ceilia Van Zanten, Megan Emerick, and Mary Thill, though Hansen always denied murdering them.

There was also one surviving victim, Cindy Paulson, a young prostitute who managed to escape from Hansen and alert authorities. Although the lead investigator didn’t believe her story, she did catch the attention of Anchorage police officer Gregg Baker, and it was Paulson’s description of her kidnapping and assault at Hansen’s hand that put authorities onto him as a serious suspect in the murders.

Hansen eventually pleaded guilty to the murders of Sherry Morrow, Joanna Messina, Eklutna Annie, and Paula Goulding and was sentenced to 461 years plus life in prison without the possibility of parole. After Hansen went to prison, Baker said in the ID special that Cindy Paulson came running up to him to thank him for believing her.

“This girl came running up to me, threw her arms around me, crying, saying ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’ And it turned out to be Cindy Paulson. She had been off the street, eating regular, sleeping regular, and I was glad that she wasn’t another name on the list,” said Baker.

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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