Eklutna Annie, Horseshoe Harriet, and the Story of Robert Hansen
Two women killed by the same man, Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen, and both remain unidentified. Hansen killed at least 17 women in/around Anchorage, Alaska between 1971–1983.
Hansen was born on February 15, 1939 in Iowa. As a child he was a loner and took refuge in hunting and archery. He was skinny, stuttered, and had acne which led to his rejection by the girls throughout his years in school. This rejection caused Hansen to hate women. Hansen followed in his father’s footsteps to become a baker, hence his moniker “The Butcher Baker”. In 1957 Hansen enlisted in the Army Reserve and was discharged a year later. But he continued to work as a drill instructor for the police academy in Pocahontas, Iowa. There he started dating a younger woman who he married in 1960.
On December 7, 1960 Hansen burned down the Pocahontas Board of Education Bus Garage as revenge for his high school years. He served 20 months of a 3 year sentence at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. There he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (at the time “manic depression”), and periodic schizophrenic episodes. The psychiatrist also noted that Hansen had an “infantile personality” and obsessed with getting revenge on people who “wronged him”. His wife divorced him while he was incarcerated. He was jailed several times over the years for petty theft. He married his second wife in 1963 and had 2 children and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1967.
The locals loved him and he set several local hunting records. In December of 1971 was arrested for the abduction of a sex worker and for the rape of a housewife. He was sentenced to five years in prison but served only 6 months, he was given a work release and sent to a halfway house. Some believe that he began killing soon after this release, sometime in 1972. In 1976 he was arrested for stealing a chainsaw from a Fred Meyer’s he was sentenced to 5 years and had to receive psychiatric treatment. The Alaskan Supreme Court ended up reducing his sentence and he was released with time served.
When Hansen would kill he had a very particular modus operandi: he would pick up a prostitute or “dancer”, hold her at gunpoint to force her to his cabin, once there he would rape her, then he would fly out to a secluded area, release her, in order to “hunt her down” and kill her with his knife or his Ruger Mini-14. He acted out a real life version of “The Most Dangerous Game”.
He was caught after Cindy Paulson, who was seventeen years old at the time, escaped his clutches in June of 1983. She had been subjected to unimaginable horror.
Paulson got into Hansen’s car willingly. But Hansen pulled a gun on her, handcuffed her, kidnapped her, and took her to his home. Once there he raped and tortured Paulson. He took Paulson to the Merrill Field Airport, where his plane was waiting. Hansen got out of the car and told Paulson (still cuffed) not to move or he’d kill her. Once he was out of the car Paulson threw herself into the driver’s seat, opened the door, and ran to the nearest street. Hansen turned to see her fleeing down the street and gave chase while yelling. She made it to Fifth Avenue at 5 am and a passing driver pulled over, and Paulson asked to be taken to the motel where her boyfriend was staying. Hansen fled back to the air field and got the hell out of dodge. A security guard noticed his strange behavior and took down the make and model of his car as well as his license plate. At the motel, still handcuffed, Paulson told the front desk to call the police.
Paulson gave a harrowing tale of her escape and remembered specific details that led to Hansen’s arrest. She remembered the airfield, Hansen’s plane, the street where his house was located, and details about the gun he pulled on her.
They connected Hansen to other bodies that had been found previously, including Eklutna Annie’s, and got a warrant for his arrest. After a man hunt Hansen was eventually, located and arrested in October of that same year. Hansen received 461 years in prison (essentially a life sentence) for the murders. Hansen was only formally charged with four of the murders that he committed and Eklutna Annie’s was one of them.
On July 17, 1980 the skeletal remains of a young Caucasian woman (with possible native ancestry) was found in a shallow grave near some power lines in a heavily wooded area one mile south of South Eklutna Lake Road near mile post two in Eklutna, Alaska (a town near Anchorage). She was found by electricians and had likely been scavenged by wild animals. It is believed that she had been dead for around 1 month to 1 year, the estimated years of death are 1979–1980. The woman is estimated to be between the ages of 16–25 and is believed to be around 4'11 to 5'3. Her weight and eye color are unknown, but she had long light brown hair with a red-ish tint. Eklutna Annie’s outfit is listed below.
- Red or reddish-brown knee-high high-heeled vinyl boots with a nylon zipper on the side
- A light colored (possibly white, beige, or light gray) sleeveless knit sweater
- A brown leather hip-length jacket (Salem matches were found in the pocket of the jacket)
- Picture 1: Gold-plated ladies chain-linked Timex wrist watch with a brown face and white hands
- Picture 2: Turquoise and brown shell necklace with a heart pendant and twisted metal bead spacers
- Picture 3: A wide copper bracelet with a stamped flora design and three turquoise stones
- Picture 4: Gold-plated twisted metal hoop earrings
- Picture 5 & 6: White shell ring with a brown inset ring
Her death was a homicide, and she died from a fatal stab wound to her back. Robert Hansen confessed to her murder and stated that she was his first victim. Hansen stated that he killed her in the fall or early winter of 1979, and he claimed that she was either a dancer from a local club or a prostitute. Hansen stated that he stabbed her to death after she tried to escape his vehicle as he tried to take her to his property. It is unknown if she got into his car willingly or was forced. According to some sources, Hansen reported that Annie had shouted “You’re going to kill me!” right before he killed her, but this can’t be completely proven. Hansen believed that she was from Kodiak, Alaska. Although Alaskan State Troopers believe that she may have come to Alaska from Washington or California (the reason why is unknown).
The above image is the original forensic bust and a reconstruction from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). However, in September of 2020, a new reconstruction of Eklutna Annie was created by NCMEC that includes the jewelry shown and described above.
Rule Outs: Missing Women who have been ruled out as being Eklutna Annie
All of these women are still missing, so I will include their information and photos below
There is another unidentified victim of Robert Hansen, nicknamed “Horseshoe Harriet”. She was found after Hansen’s arrest, in October of 1983. Little to no information is available on this murder victim, there is no official reconstruction even though there was an exhumation in 2014. All we have is her physical description based on her skeleton and the clothes/items that were found on/near her.
On April 25, 1984 the partial skeletal remains of a white female were found near Horseshoe Lake (hence her nickname) in Palmer, Matanuska Borough, Alaska. She was between the ages of 17–21 and was around 5"2 to 5"6. Her weight and eye color could not be determined due to the state of her remains. It is unknown how long she had been deceased, but is was presumably before Hansen’s arrest. She also had brown hair and was a possible smoker. Her clothes are listed below.
- Wool Knit Scarf
- Knit Coat and Sweater
- Blue Jeans
- Wool Socks
- Leg Warmers
- Nylon Bra
- Tennis Shoes
Near the Body:
- Cool cigarettes
- Large Comb
Her death was ruled a homicide by stabbing and gunshot, it is unclear which one came first or which one is fatal. It is also unclear as to where on her body she was shot and stabbed. It is unknown whether Horseshoe Harriet engaged in sexual activities with Robert Hansen, but from the condoms that were found with the body it seems as if that was her intention. She is most likely a prostitute or dancer like Hansen’s other victims (this is an inference not fact), the fact that she had condoms could also lead us to this conclusion.
In 2014, right around the time of Hansen’s death, Horseshoe Harriet was exhumed with the purpose of creating a reconstruction of what Harriet may have looked like while she was alive. Unfortunately, due to the state of her remains creating this image was impossible. However, DNA was collected. By the time her case returned to the forefront, after her exhumation, Hansen was already deceased. So no new questions could be raised to the man who took her life. “What was her name?” “Where did you find her?” “Where was she from?”, all of which are questions that Hansen can never answer.
A lot of questions still surround Horseshoe Harriet, so the theories are quite limited. However one theory regarding the identity of Horseshoe Harriet is that she might be Roxanne Easland. If you’ll remember, she is one of the rule-outs relating to the identity of Eklutna Annie. Easland disappeared on June 28, 1980. However she was around 24 years old at the time, which is a bit older than the estimated age of Horseshoe Harriet. However, age is hard to estimate so it could be incorrect. Especially without a reconstruction it is difficult to be sure if the Roxanne Easland theory is plausible.
Rule-Outs: Missing women have been ruled out as being Horseshoe Harriet
All of these women are still currently missing, so their information and pictures are listed below.
Whatever the case may be, two women were murdered by a sick individual who took some of their secrets to his grave. These women deserve to get their names back and have a headstone that reads something other than “Jane Doe; Died 1980” or “Jane Doe #3; Found April 24, 1984 (the wrong date)”. The most important aspect of these cases is to share them as much as you can. It takes one person sharing one piece of information to blow the lid off of an investigation that has been cold for decades.
As of November 14, 2020 Eklutna Annie has been unidentified for 40 years 3 months and 28 days. And Horseshoe Harriet has been unidentified for 36 years 6 months and 20 days.
If you have any information that could lead to the identity of Eklutna Annie please call the Alaska State Troopers at (907)-269–5511 and ask for Malia Miller who is the Missing Persons Clearinghouse Manager. You can also contact the Anchorage Police Department at (907)-786–8900 in reference to case number: 80–43262.
If you have any information that could lead to the identity of Horseshoe Harriet please call the Alaska State Troopers at (907)-269–5511 in reference to case number 80–00158.
The Known Victims of Robert Hansen:
In remembrance of the other victims of Robert Hansen
Joanna Messina was a 24 year-old went missing in May of 1980 and her body was found in July of 1980. She was found badly decomposed in a gravel pit near Eklutna Lake and little evidence was found near her body. She was a cannery worker who was last seen leaving the dock with her dog and a red headed man, who her co-workers didn’t recognize. She was killed by a .22 caliber gunshot.
Sherry Morrow was a 23 year-old went missing on November 17, 1981. Her body was found on September 12, 1982 on the banks of the Knik River. She was a topless dancer, and her last known location is unknown. She came to Alaska for “easy money” and worked in a seedy area of Anchorage nicknamed “Fourth Avenue”. She had been blindfolded and bound at the time of death. She had been shot 3 times with a .223 caliber Ruger Mini-14 hunting rifle, and shell casings were found at the scene. Her clothes didn’t have bullet holes in them meaning she was naked when killed and was then re-dressed after death.
Paula Goulding was a 32 year-old (some sources say that she was 17, but her grave says that she’s 32) who went missing on April 25, 1983. Her body was found on September 2, 1983 on the banks of the Knik River in a shallow grave. She was partially decomposed and was also blindfolded and bound. She was a topless dancer, and her last known location is unknown. She had been murdered the same way as Sherry Morrow and had also been re-dressed after her death.
Malai Larsen was a 28 year-old who went missing on an unknown date between 1980–1983. Her body was found on April 24, 1984 near a parking area by Old Knik Bridge. Little else is known about her, but she presumably fit Hansen’s victim type of prostitutes or topless dancers. Though this is not a fact as some of his victims were not in that industry.
Sue Luna was a 23 year-old who went missing on May 20, 1982. Her body was found on April 24,1984 near the Knik River. Hansen took her out to the Knik River, stripped her, and made her run so he could hunt her down like an animal. He shot her to death, with what weapon is unknown. Her type of work is unknown, but she could’ve been a sex worker or dancer. This is not a fact and is only speculation.
DeLynne Frey was a 22 year-old waitress from Hawaii who went missing in March or September of 1983. Her body was found on April 25, 1984 and was actually unidentified until 1990. She was found on a sandbar just west of Horseshoe lake. She was a dancer who went by the name of “Sugar”. She was a product of divorce and moved around a lot, according to a cousin. Her father had a brain aneurysm in Vietnam and just wasn’t the same. She had “the most beautiful eyes” but was “always sad”.
Teresa Watson was a 22 year-old who went missing between 1980–1983. Her body was found near Scenic Lake on the Kenai Peninsula on May 17, 1984. She was from Sacramento, California.
Angela Feddern was a 24 year-old who went missing in February of 1983. Her body was found on April 26, 1984 at Figure Eight Lake in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska. Known as “Angie”, her sister stated that she was a “troubled soul”. She fell into the world of drugs and addiction and would do anything to support her habit. Both her mother and sister tried to reach out and help her, but they both failed. Her mother was “prepared for the news” that her daughter was dead after Angela had stopped calling her mother (which was a regular occurrence).
Tamara Pederson was a 20 year-old who went missing between 1980–1983. Her body was found across the river from Sherry Morrow’s gravesite (around 1.5 miles from the river itself) on April 29, 1984. Her death was the result of two shots with a 7mm Thompson Contender (large caliber rifle). She was close to her step-father, who had adopted her. He gets incredibly angry when people blame her profession for her death. She was, assumedly, in the sex industry.
Lisa Futrell was the oldest of Robert Hansen’s known victims, at 41 years-old, and she went missing on September 6, 1980. Her body was found on May 9, 1984 south of Old Knik Bridge. She was known as “Betty” and she was a sex worker.
Andrea Altiery was a 24 year-old went missing on December 2, 1981. She was last seen taking a cab to the Boniface Mall in Anchorage and planned to meet an unknown man for a “photoshoot”. Her body has never been found, but Hansen confessed to killing her. They were able to verify this because they found a unique necklace with a fish that belonged to her, as her nickname was “Fish”, in Hansen’s possession. She was a dancer who danced under the name “Enchantment”. She is a white female with brown hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a black leather jacket, a red sweater, a gold ring set with 2 pearls, an antique wedding band with a rose set top, and the Fish necklace. She may have also had a black zippered purse and a small floral print make-up bag.
If you have any information surrounding Andrea Altiery’s disappearance/murder or the location of her body please contact the Alaska State Troopers at (907)-269–5511 and ask for Malia Miller (the Missing Person Clearinghouse Manager) in reference to case number I830065851. Or contact the Anchorage Police Department at (907)-786–8900 in reference to case number 810084230.
Roxanne Easland was a 23 year-old who went missing on June 28, 1980. She had been staying at the Budget Motel on Spenard Road in Anchorage, Alaska and was last seen going to meet with an unidentified male on Fourth Avenue in the downtown area of Anchorage, Alaska. The spelling of her name varies with every source, both her first and last name. She was also known by several aliases: Karen Lee Baunsgard and Robin Lee Easland. She was a white female with brown hair, brown eyes, had a birthmark on the top of her shoulder and one on the top of her right thigh, and sometimes wore wire-framed glasses. She was last seen wearing a short brown leather coat with a fur collar, pants or blue jeans, black high-heeled boots, and (possibly) a purse. Hansen admitted to killing her, but her body was never found. If you have any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Roxanne Easland or the whereabouts of her remains, please contact the Alaska State Troopers at (907)-269–5511 and ask for Malia Miller (Missing Persons Clearinghouse Manager) in reference to case number I830065851.
These are victims that are suspected but not confirmed.
Megan Emerick was a 17 year-old went missing on July 7, 1973 from Seward, Alaska. She was last seen leaving her dormitory after doing laundry and had left her belongings behind, indicating that she didn’t intend to leave voluntarily. It is believed that she was abducted and murdered. Hansen denied killing her, but she is suspected due to an “X” marked on his aviation map. She was a white female with hazel eyes, brown hair, and had protruding front teeth. She was wearing blue jeans, a brown short-sleeved shirt, a white checkered long-sleeved shirt, and suede ski boots. If you have information that could lead to Megan’s whereabouts or the whereabouts of her remains, please contact the Seward Police Department at (907)-224–3338 and ask for Sean Corrigan in reference to case number 73–1268.
Mary Thill was reported missing on July 5, 1975 and, at that time, would’ve been 22. She was from Seward, Alaska and was dropped off at a bakery by a friend (as her husband was away working on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline). Around 1:30 pm-2:00 pm she was seen at the waterfall on Lowell Point Road, and she was never seen. She is a suspected victim of Hansen due to the time period/location of her disappearance and an “X” on his aviation map. However, he denied killing her. Mary Thill was a white female, with red hair, blue eyes, and wore glasses with round thick pink frames and thick lenses. She was last seen wearing an Army jacket, a gray pullover sweater, blue Levi’s jeans, leather Tuffy hiking boots, and carrying a small backpack. If you have information that could lead to Mary Thill’s whereabouts or the whereabouts of her remains please contact the Seward Police Department at (907)-224–3338 and ask for Sean Corrigan (no case number was given).
Celia Beth Van Zanten was an 18 year-old abducted on December 22, 1971 while walking from her home to a grocery store. Her body was found on Christmas Day by a group of hikers at McHugh State Park, south of Anchorage. She had been gagged and had her arms bound behind her back with speaker wire, and was naked below the waist. She had been raped and her chest has been slashed with a knife. But she was still alive when she was thrown/placed into the ravine. She had tried to claw her way out of the ravine but couldn’t grab onto the steep wall of the cliff, because her hands were tied behind her back. She fell multiple times until she couldn’t climb anymore and froze to death.
Sandra Patterson, an 18 year-old, came forward after Celia’s murder to report that she had been abducted and raped on December 19th. She had been working as a prostitute to support her heroin addiction. While she was in the parking lot of the Nevada Club in Anchorage when a man pointed a gun at her and said that he would kill her if she didn’t do what he wanted. She was taken to a motel on the Kenai Peninsula and was raped, then she was driven back to Anchorage and threatened with death if she told belief. She identified Hansen as her attacker, after picking him out of a photo line-up. This was before he started his serial murder spree, but the case was dropped because Sandra Patterson was an “unreliable witness”.
However, Hansen didn’t tend to leave victims alive and both cases don’t fit his modus operandi. But they fit the crimes of another Alaskan serial killer and rapist Gary Zieger. Whatever the answer, Celia’s murder was never solved. And the debate still exists on whether her death was the result of Robert Hansen, Gary Zieger, or someone that she knew.
Even though these women may not be victims of Robert Hansen, their cases are still worth mentioning.
Known or unknown…The Missing, Murdered, and Unidentified deserve justice.