Robert Hansen was a serial killer in the 1970s and 1980s. He admitted to killing 17 women and raping 30 others during his time as a killer. Authorities, however, believed the count was significantly higher.
Serial killers usually have signatures, and his was that he would let his victims go. Some would get away, living in fear of him going after them if they went to the police. Others, he would let go in the woods and then hunt them like animals.
If this story sounds a little familiar, it's because it became the inspiration for a movie in 2013, The Frozen Ground. The movie starred Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens and received relatively mediocre reviews.
Hansen pleaded guilty to four of the murders as part of a deal and was sentenced to 461 years in prison. The serial killer spent his time at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward and died in an Anchorage hospital on August 21. He was 75 at the time and had been in declining health.
Authorities received permission to exhume one of Hansen's victims one day before the serial killer's death.
This past Wednesday, the State Medical Examiner's Office followed through and exhumed the body of Jane Doe #3, also known as "Horseshoe Harriet."
The exhumation of the body was paid for by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It's their belief that testing might give the serial killer's victim an identity that would allow for her family to have some closure and a proper burial.
In fact, the center has some information on a missing child in Alaska from around Hansen's serial killer days. They are hoping that tests will reveal that the girl is that child.
Another of the serial killer's victims was already exhumed. A Jane Doe, labeled "Eklutna Annie," was found buried outside Elkutna along a power line.
Testing and facial reconstruction for Eklutna Annie has already been completed.
Authorities have stated that the image of Horseshoe Harriet should be complete in roughly six months. The DNA testing will be done at a university in Texas while the facial reconstruction will fall to the center in Virginia.
If they can't identify the image created by the scientists working on the victim, they will release the picture to the public in hopes that someone else can.
The center is determined to aid the serial killer's victims in getting their faces and names back.
[ Image courtesy of Alaska Dispatch News ]