With the prospect of leaving Hansen’s house and getting into an airplane looming in her consciousness, Cindy’s thoughts were increasingly characterized by two words. Almost Dead.
At first, she wasn’t sure she’d even make it out of the house alive. And then she had darker thoughts, where both she and Hansen ended up dead. She had to be patient, she thought, but not too patient. Escape was always top of mind. If she didn’t do something about it, almost dead would become DOORNAIL DEAD.
Purchase Butcher, Baker
FLOTHE: About what time was it that you left the house?
CINDY: Oh about 10:30 in the morning.
FLOTHE: OK. Now he awakes. How did you get your clothes back on?
CINDY: I put ‘em on.
FLOTHE: Were you handcuffed at that time?
CINDY: Yep. And then when I had to put on my shirt and stuff, he would uncuff one hand, stand there and wait, and then cuff it right back.
FLOTHE: Were you still in chains?
CINDY: No. Just before we left he unchained me. See, that’s when I thought he was gonna shoot me downstairs.
FLOTHE: Why? Why did you think that?
CINDY: Gosh, I don’t know. I just got the strangest feeling this guy was going to shoot me, you know. And I was really upset. Trippin’. I was real nervous.
Hansen’s .223 — His Preferred Murder Weapon (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)
FLOTHE: Did he do anything else before you left? Was he doing anything in the house before you left?
CINDY: No. He left everything out.
FLOTHE: OK. Did he put anything in the car?
CINDY: Yes. But I don’t remember what. I was chained up at the time. See… See he told me, ‘Even if you do tell,’ you know, he said ‘well I have an alibi ‘cause my friends will say I was at the lake with them.’ I don’t know, but some of the detectives said they talked to his friends. I don’t know what they said. Whatever. But… I didn’t take a lie detector test. But I should have… But I will take one.
FLOTHE: Why didn’t you?
CINDY: ‘Cause at the time I really couldn’t… ‘Cause I was up here with someone else and, you know, that person was ready to go and I didn’t want to be left here. ‘Cause I love the person a lot and I needed him at the time. And I didn’t realize that I really didn’t need him.
FLOTHE: Are you talking about Mr. Franklin?
NOTE: “Mr. Franklin” was Cindy’s pimp. His ability to influence her decisions — even against Cindy’s own best interests — led her to some questionable outcomes. Sgt. Flothe spent many months worrying about their relationship.
FLOTHE: So he [Hansen]… he mentioned to you something to the effect that he would have an alibi?
CINDY: Um hmm. That his friends would tell ‘em (inaudible)
FLOTHE: So when you left the downstairs, how did you leave?
CINDY: Oh, with the handcuffs on. We went to the car. And then I’m thinking, ‘shit, you know, I got it made.’ I’m laying in the back seat with a blanket over me. I’m thinking, well, I could throw the blanket up, cover his head up. And all this time, the rope that this man had tied my neck with was in the front passenger seat, where the gun was. Thinking I could cover his head up. But what if he wrecks and kills us both?
FLOTHE: When you were in the car?
CINDY: Um hmm.
Merrill Field, Pre-1970 (courtesy FAA; the Big Timber is on Fifth Avenue, due west of the airfield; the area was more built-up by the ’80s, but still characterized by open space.)
FLOTHE: So you decided not to do that?
CINDY: [I decided] to wait till we get to the airport. And I was thinking, wow, we’re going to the airport. He said Merrill Air Field. And I was staying at the Big Timber, so I knew, you know, I’m getting the fuck out of there. So I just waited. Finally, I just was so scared, I just ran…
Big Timber, looking across Fifth Avenue (copyright, Leland E. Hale; Merrill Field is at the photographer’s back)
See also: Kidnapped: The Cindy Paulson Story [Installment One]