Not The First Time, Hansen Says

After sex there was small talk. Not the small talk that’s common among humans. This was small talk from a man trying to mark his turf, to intimidate his listener. It was not his first time; this was his cut-rate mantra, to be repeated as necessary. No one who heard it felt in the least bit privileged. Just surviving to see another day seemed privilege enough.

If, in fact, one survived. The Alaskan Bush can swallow you whole. Robert Hansen knew that all too well.

Section of Hansen’s Original Flight Chart (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)
Cooper Landing, where Patty was held, it at top left. Kenai Lake snakes to the right in the upper quadrant. At center is one of Hansen’s hand drawn marks; Joanne Messina was found there. There are several more hand drawn marks around Seward, all of them in Resurrection Bay. The circle between Falls and Lawing marks a landing strip near Seward Highway, AK-9.

Patty Roberts: “He told me that he had done this before with other girls and said, ‘I don’t understand it because all the other girls had fought.’ He didn’t say he killed any girls, but that’s the way he acted.

“I got the impression from his talking that he had had a girl out a week ago or the weekend before and he said she had really fought, that she was a wild one. Something he said made me think that he had been with a colored girl.


Roberts: “We left the motel some time around 11:00 or 11:30 a.m. and headed toward Kenai rather than toward Anchorage. He told me we were going to a cabin in the mountains, that he had once taken a girl there. We went up a road on the other side of Kenai Lake for a long ways. After we got up the road aways, he stopped and tied my hands together again.

“We came upon a pick-up with a blade on the front that was plowing the road and he had to turn around. At this time he took his gun out and put it in his lap. There was a woman and a child in the truck. We went back the way we had come for about a mile and he slowed down and stopped.


Roberts: “He kept looking over the embankment on the right. I asked him why he stopped and he said something about seeing something in the trees. He told me that he couldn’t take me back to town now because I’d tell on him or go to the police.

“He still had the gun on his lap and I was scared.”

Copyright Leland E. Hale (2020). All rights reserved.


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