While the informant interviews stretched into 1972, the first move on Robert Hansen took place in late ’71, two days after Patty’s post-Christmas complaint. More to the point, it happened the day after she identified him in the photo line-up. With the unsolved murder of Beth van Zanten so close at hand, there was a sense of urgency. That urgency revealed itself as a small error on his arrest warrant. The arrest warrant listed him as a “Coke Decorator.” That should have been “Cake.”
On 12/28/71, along with a warrant for the arrest of the suspect, Mr. ROBERT C. HANSON [sic], a search warrant was obtained upon probable causes for his vehicle, a 1967 Pontiac, Alaska License Number 36042. This warrant was executed at Mr. HANSON’s address, 327 Thomas Circle, at approximately 4:30 p.m. on 12/28/71. The seized vehicle was towed by a wrecker to the Anchorage City Police garage, where it was placed under guard until 12/29/71, at which time it was searched.
On 12.29.71 at approx. 8:30 a.m. at Anchorage Police Dept. Garage Warehouse a search warrant was served upon a ’67 Pontiac, license AK 36042, for the purpose of obtaining numerous items which were listed upon the search warrant. A complete examination of the vehicle was conducted by Lab Tech Sauve, who removed numerous fingerprints from the outside and inside of the vehicle. Photographed the vehicle both inside and outside and the trunk area.
An examination of the inside interior of the vehicle revealed it to be moderately clean and free from debris. The front ashtray was full of coins and had he appearance of never being utilized by cigarettes. The back two ashtrays and the right rear contained the contents of numerous napkins and a Lark cigarette butt. The left rear ashtray contained the contents of a Marlboro cigarette butt.
A Marlboro cigarette butt. The brand that Hansen purchased for Patty at the Portage Cafe. And, yes, he had forced her into the rear of the vehicle. Patty hadn’t resisted it because, she said, it was more comfortable than the front seat. Her hands, after all, were in restraints.
The vehicle search discovered other evidence that only Patty would know. In the glovebox, a folding knife. In the trunk a Buck hunting knife. On the floorboard of the front seat, a candy wrapper from a Hershey bar. Hansen had made just such a purchase at the Portage Cafe, on the way back to town. Among the other items found was a brown Army blanket. Troopers photographed it and vacuumed it for evidence. All items seized were part of the search warrant.
Patty’s accusations, always true, were now truer than ever.
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2020). All rights reserved.
Purchase Butcher, Baker