Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
A woman who was murdered by notorious serial killer Robert Hansen has been given her name back after nearly four decades of remaining unidentified.
The murder victim known as simply “Horseshoe Harriet” for 37 years has now been identified as Robin Pelkey, a teenager who vanished in the early 1980s, the Alaska Department of Public Safety announced in a Friday press release.
The remains of 19-year-old Pelkey were discovered in April of 1984 along with seven other victims of Hansen in the outskirts of Anchorage by Alaska state troopers. In total, 12 bodies have been found though Hansen has claimed to have murdered 17 in all. Not only did Hansen rape and torture his victims but he then hunted them down in the wilderness as if they were wild game. Police believe he killed Pelkey in 1983.
Hansen told investigators that the Colorado native was working as a sex worker in downtown Anchorage when he abducted her before taking her out to Horseshoe Lake in a small plane. He told officials during his confessions that he knew very little about her, not even her name.
In 2014, the very same year that Hansen died at age 75, Pelkey’s remains were exhumed and samples of her DNA were obtained and sent into a lab to create a profile, Alaska state troopers noted in a video which announced the identification of Pelkey.
While they were unable to find a match in the FBI's national missing person database, investigators began using genetic genealogy to identify her last year. By August, a new DNA profile was generated and uploaded into a public genealogy database. Genealogy research by Parabon Nanolabs and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation pointed to Pelkey.
The teenager had never been reported missing by her family.
Hansen, known also as “The Butcher Baker,” was convicted in 1983 of four of his victims’ murders and sentenced to 461 years plus life without the chance of parole. Currently, only of his 12 known victims remains unidentified: she is known only as Eklutna Annie because her body was found about a mile away from South Eklutna Lake Road in Anchorage. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is currently using genetic genealogy to try to identify her.
“I would like to thank all of the troopers, investigators, and analysts that have diligently worked on this case over the last 37 years. Without their hard work and tenacity, the identity of Ms. Pelkey may have never been known,” Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell stated on Friday. “The Alaska Department of Public Safety will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to solve major crimes in our state, hold anyone that violates our laws accountable, and bring closure to a victims’ family.”
Hansen's case was previously explored in Oxygen’s "Mark of a Killer."
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.