Seems Like… I Can’t Remember

Sometimes an outright denial is more effective than any attempt to evade reality. To shade the truth, to smudge it, to smear it, is to leave room for doubt. The opposite approach, though, has its merits. In this world, phrases like “can’t remember” and “I don’t know” assume a pIace of prominence. The object is not to lie, but to muddy the truth. The trick is to stretch it without breaking. To acknowledge some of the facts without fully committing to their implications.

Hansen Lineup Photo (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Robert Hansen seemed to have mastered those lessons. And the deeper his police interview went, the stronger his evasions.

Interview (Cont.)

[Sgt. Hughes asked Hansen], “Did you give her any money?” MR. HANSEN answered, “Didn’t have any.”

“Seems like she didn’t have the child anymore… seems like she was in trouble with the law.”

“Can’t remember…” Considerable pause.

“I can remember her saying…” (pause)

Question by HANSEN, “What’s that motel here in town… can’t remember the name of it.”

Street Scene, Anchorage 1970s (courtesy Stephen Cysewski)

Considerable pause.

“Fancy Moose… Seems like she could stay all day the next day if I would pay the rent.”

I then asked MR. HANSEN if he took the girl to the Fancy Moose and his reply was negative, then, “I can’t remember.” I asked MR. HANSEN if he was driving his Pontiac that day, and he said very slowly, “I don’t think so,” then more emphatically, “No, I don’t think so.”

Another pause and thought by MR. HANSEN and he continued. “I think she was mad because she didn’t make any money that night. I remember her saying, ‘I didn’t make a god damned dime tonight.’ Seems like she’d pay for the motel room…” Then considerable pause and thought. “Half of it. Didn’t make much sense… I didn’t have $75.00.”

Party House, Anchorage 1970s (courtesy Stephen Cysewski)


MR. HANSEN again paused and started to say that he had something on his mind, but then shook his head and said, “No… no.”

I told MR. HANSEN if he had something on his mind that was bothering him, to tell us what it was. He then continued. “Hypodermic syringe… she said she wanted some dope. Seems like he had some needles. I don’t even know if this is right.”

“Seems like I remember a girl with dark hair… she wanted some money… seems like she’d been in a fight… her arms were sore… her wrists and arms.”

“I can’t remember going down there… just doesn’t seem like I would just before Christmas.”

Santa, Downtown Anchorage, 1970s (courtesy Stephen Cysewski)

Taking A Break

Detective Rice then asked MR. HANSEN what kind of hand gun he usually carried in his car if he were going hunting, and MR. HANSEN replied, “A Colt Woodsman .22 with a six inch barrel.”

At this point, we called a break, and asked MR. HANSEN if he wanted a Coke or water. He wanted a Coke. He was left by himself for approximately twenty minutes. Upon our return, MR. HANSEN was again advised of his rights. He stated that he most wanted to talk to MR. JIM GILMORE, his attorney, and his doctor. The interview was terminated immediately at approximately 7:10 p.m., and MR. HANSEN was taken to the State Jail and booked. DECEMBER 29, 1971

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


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