Victim of Alaska serial killer identified after 37 years

Robin Pelkey was one of at least 17 victims of the “Butcher Baker”
Robin Pelkey was identified as one of serial killer Robert Hanson's victims, 37 years after her...
Robin Pelkey was identified as one of serial killer Robert Hanson's victims, 37 years after her death.(State of Alaska)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 10:48 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - DNA evidence has helped identify the remains of one of Alaska serial killer Robert Hansen’s victims, 37 years after her death.

Robin Pelkey is the name of the woman that was murdered in the early 1980s, according to the results of DNA research completed by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Unit and Parabon Nanolabs laboratory. The two agencies used new DNA samples from family members to construct a DNA profile and family tree for Pelkey, according to a Friday press release from the Alaska Department of Public Safety.

A new DNA profile for Pelkey was generated in August, and uploaded into a public geneaology database.

Pelkey, colloquially known for years as “Horseshoe Harriet,” was found dead April 25, 1984, near Horseshoe Lake in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. According to the release, records indicate that she had been living in Anchorage around the time when Hansen was active, and would have been 19 at the time of her murder.

Investigators found no record of her having been reported missing.

Hansen, known as the “Butcher Baker,” gained national attention for a series of murders around Alaska. Alaska State Troopers arrested him in Oct. 1983, when he was suspected of murdering four women whose bodies were found in Southcentral Alaska over the previous three years. Hansen pleaded guilty to the crimes in Feb. 1984 and was sentenced to life in prison.

He later admitted to at least 17 murders from 1973 to 1983. According to the release, he accompanied investigators on a helicopter flight and pointed out the grave sites.

Hansen died in Anchorage on Aug. 21, 2014.

According to the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, Pelkey was born in Colorado in 1963.

Pelkey’s remains were exhumed from Anchorage Memorial Park cemetery in Sept. 2014 to undergo DNA testing.

With help from the Arkansas State Police, the investigation bureau was able to reach a close relative of Pelkey’s and obtained a DNA sample, which was sent to the State of Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage. Kinship analysis was completed in September, which allowed investigators to complete the family connection.

The Department of Public Safety has purchased a new grave marker as the final resting place of Pelkey at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

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