Witnesses To Fear: The Doctor and the Fisherman

Cindy Paulson’s escape from Robert Hansen was, at the beginning at least, an inauspicious development. Sure, Sgt. Gregg Baker witnessed her fear. And her seeming fearlessness. Despite her ordeal, Cindy led them to Hansen’s plane, and then to his house. These were tentposts to her credibility. But it didn’t mean “case solved.”

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Humana Hospital ER, Anchorage (courtesy Alaska Regional Hospital)

She’d Seen Her Maker

It was only when she got to Humana Hospital for her rape exam that Cindy’s emotional vulnerability started to squeak through. It was Dr. Frank Hollingshead who attended her in the Emergency Room. The good doctor had worked there for years. Had seen victims of all manner of crimes. Seen people flush with fear. Now quoting Frank Rothschild, Dr. Hollingshead “had never seen a woman so scared out of her wits that she’d seen her Maker.” But it still didn’t mean “case solved.”

Though Hansen had given Cindy his standard speech — you’re a hooker, you dance naked, no one will believe you — this time Bob was a little worried. It was the handcuffs. The fact that the cops found her bound in cuffs. Bob Hansen was feeling his own version of fear.

Frank Rothschild: “He thought she [Cindy] might be a little more believable given the fact that she was wearing handcuffs, so he rushed and called his good friend John Henning, he’ll alibi for me. And sure enough he did. Now he didn’t tell John Henning the truth about what happened and John Henning is a man who says that, in his mind, why it’s just an occupational hazard of women who work the streets to get a little roughed around or have those kind of problems.

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Anchorage 4th Ave. Strip at Night

It’s What Buddies Do

“So he stood up for his buddy, agreed to provide the police with an alibi, took his weapons from him because he [Hansen] was afraid the police would be suspicious with him having weapons… And when the investigator called him, he told them flat out, he was with me all night, couldn’t have been with that street prostitute.

“Was confronted twice more by the investigator, once at the police department. ‘Oh, no, he was with me.’ The police officer read him the riot act and said, now this is the time to come forward and these are serious charges and you could be obstructing justice. And he said, ‘oh, no, he was with me,’ as calm and cool as can be.”

This fisherman, this man named John, apparently had no fear. He believed his friend. Why should he be afraid?


Copyright Leland E. Hale (2021). All rights reserved.

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