Prior to the killings, Hansen owned a bakery, which earned him the serial killer name of the “Butcher Baker” in the press. He came to Alaska with a long criminal record and had previously done time for burning down a Pocahontas County Board of Education garage for school buses.
In 1960, Hansen served 20 months of a three-year-sentence in the Anamosa State Penitentiary, during which time he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The New York Daily News reports that Hansen blamed a tortured childhood for his crimes.
By 1967, Hansen had moved to Alaska and started a second marriage. It is estimated that he performed the killings for his serial killing spree between 1971 and 1983. He reportedly killed the women with a Ruger Min-14 and a knife. By 1983, the “Butcher Baker” was convicted for four of the murders, and sentenced to 461 years without the possibility of parole.
The Washington Post reports that Hansen died in prison in 2014 due to natural causes at the age of 75. In jail, he reportedly confessed to raping over 30 women.
Hansen was the subject of a 2013 film called “The Frozen Ground” where Nicolas Cage played the role of an Alaska State trooper. John Cusack played the role of Robert Hansen.