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Is The Frozen Ground’s Jack Halcombe Based on a Real Detective?

August 31, 2020
4 min read

The Frozen Ground’ is a crime/thriller movie based on the atrocities that serial killer Robert Hansen committed in real life. An Alaskan state trooper named Jack Halcombe, played by Nicolas Cage, is relentless in his pursuit of Hansen, played by John Cusack. The movie follows Halcombe and his accomplice, a young woman who has escaped from Hansen’s clutches, as they try to bring the criminal down.

Who is Jack Halcombe Based On?

The man responsible for catching the killer in the movie is actually based on a local sergeant named Glenn Flothe of the Alaska State Troopers. He was instrumental in Hansen’s capture back in the 80s. He was a part of a team that was investigating several murders around Anchorage, Seward, and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. 

Image Credit: lelandhale,com

Flothe realized that he had three cases to investigate. The first was that of “Eklutna Annie,” a woman who Hansen claimed was his first victim. She died because of stab wounds in her back. However, she was never identified. The second case was that of Joanna Messina, whose body was found near a gravel pit in Seward. In 1982, the third body was discovered near Knik River, and it was 23-year-old Sherry Morrow. 

With the help of Special Agent John Douglas, the famous FBI criminal profiler, a psychological profile for the killer was established. The federal agent thought that the killer battled with low self-esteem and had faced rejection from many women. Due to this, the criminal would feel the need to keep mementos of his victims. There was also a possibility that the man they were seeking stuttered. 

Keeping this profile in mind, Flothe pursued potential suspects. Then, he noticed that Hansen fit the bill. However, he was inconspicuous before because he was a family man and ran a bakery. It was the combination of the testimony of Cindy Paulson (the woman who escaped) and Douglas’s expert characterization due to which a search warrant was obtained for the baker’s house. There, true to the profile, jewelry from the victims was found in his attic. Firearms were also present. Authorities even uncovered a map where X marked the spots where they had discovered the bodies.

Nicolas Cage said this about his role— “The Frozen Ground was important to me. I felt like I was playing a real person, a hero. Glenn Flothe was an Alaskan State Trooper who risked his life to put this serial killer behind bars. He went up hard against the justice system.”

Where is Glenn Flothe Now?

It must be noted that Glenn Flothe contributed to the script of the movie. Scott Walker, the New-Zealand born director (and writer) of the film, approached the now-retired state trooper to hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth. 

Image credit: lelandhale,com

Walker stated that both of them spoke about presenting the victims’ pain instead of glorifying the killer. Moreover, Flothe did not want his name to be used since he felt that he had just done his job. The director also said, “The last thing he said to me was: ‘I’ll help you with anything you want, but the reality is from my perspective is that I’m not the hero. Cindy Paulson is the hero and you need to find her.’”

Robert Hanson died in prison in August 2014 at the age of 75. On hearing this news, Flothe said, “On this day we should only remember his many victims and all of their families and my heart goes out to all of them. As far as Hansen is concerned, this world is better without him.” Although Glenn’s exact whereabouts are unknown, there is a high probability of him residing with his wife Cheryl and other loved ones in Alaska, enjoying his retirement.

Read More: Where is Cindy Paulson Now?

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