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Hitchhiker Taken Hostage And Kept In Box Under Kidnapper’s Bed For Seven Years

by : Julia Banim on : 11 Aug 2020 18:40
HitchhikerHitchhikerChannel 5

On the morning of May 19, 1977, 20-year-old Colleen Stan, of Eugene, Oregon, had been heading to a friend’s birthday party, hundreds of miles away in northern California.

She’d been having car troubles, and so decided to hitch-hike her way there in time to surprise her friend. Hitchhiking was considered far more normal back then, and was something she herself had tried many times before, without incident.

When Colleen reached the small Californian town of Red Bluff in the early afternoon, a young couple offered her a ride. Colleen had no reason to believe they were anything out of the ordinary, and the presence of their little baby also helped reassure her that she had made a safe choice.

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Getting into their van, Colleen could have had no idea of the nightmare which awaited her, a nightmare which would go on to last for seven long years. She also had no idea that the seemingly helpful couple knew all too well that the presence of their innocent child would put her at ease.

Recalling her experiences in true crime documentary The Girl in the Box: The Kidnapping of Colleen Stan, Colleen recalled how – during a bathroom stop at a gas station – ‘a voice told me to run and jump out a window and never look back’. However, she somehow managed to quell her fears and get back in the car.

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Rather than take Colleen to her party, Cameron and Janice Hooker waited until they reached a secluded area before making their true intentions known, around twenty minutes after that little voice in her head had warned her something was up.

They wanted to kidnap her and use her a sex slave. She was to take Janice’s place who, up until this point, had been used by Hooker for acts of sexual bondage.

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Colleen was threatened at knife-point before being gagged and forced to a handmade wooden deprivation box over her head, a device intended to block out all light, sound and fresh air. The fear and hopelessness she must have felt at this moment is almost impossible to imagine.

On that first night, Colleen was strung up by her hands, blindfolded and physically assaulted by Hooker. While she remained suspended by her wrists in their basement, the couple had sex beneath her.

This was to mark the beginning of seven years of torture, sexual abuse and psychological torment, where Colleen was kept as a slave by the Hookers, spending 23 hours a day inside a coffin-like box beneath their waterbed.

For the next seven years, Colleen was forced to spend out her days in the box, and would only be let out for short periods of time so Hooker could rape or torture her. Her meals consisted of potatoes or a sandwich onec a day, and she had to make do with a bedpan as a toilet.

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After seven months had passed, Colleen was forced to sign a ‘slave contract’ agreeing that Cameron owned her and that she would obey him, addressing him as ‘master’.

Cameron also manipulated her further at this point, convincing her that he was part of a sinister organisation known as ‘The Company’.

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Speaking with Closer in 2009, Colleen said:

He told me he belonged to a very powerful international organisation called The Company. He compared it to the mafia and said if I ran away they’d come and get me.

He told me I’d be nailed to a cross and left for days. And by then I was so broken I believed him. After signing the contract I was allowed out of the box for an hour a day to clean their house.

After the contract was signed, Colleen was permitted a bit more freedom, and was even allowed to work in the yard or go out for a jog. However, Colleen was so frightened by the supposed power of ‘The Company’, that she didn’t attempt to escape or alert authorities.

You can watch The Girl in the Box: The Kidnapping of Colleen Stan for yourself below:

Colleen was even allowed to go home to visit her family on a couple of occasions, who believed she had joined a cult. They were so worried about not seeing her again that they didn’t question her too much about where she had been and what she had been doing.

On the second visit to her family, in 1981, Colleen even took Hooker with her. Her family believed him to be her boyfriend, even taking a photograph of them smiling together.

However, after this visit Hooker tightened his control once more, believing he had permitted Colleen too much freedom. Colleen was to spend most of the following three years beneath the Hookers’ bed, secured in her box.

By 1983, Colleen was once again given a bit more freedom, and was even allowed to work as a maid in a local motel. It was at around this point that things took a turn.

Soon after this, Hooker told Janice of his plans to take Colleen as a second wife, news that she didn’t take well. In August 1984, Janice told Colleen that Hooker was not in fact a member of ‘The Company’, releasing her from her fears that this organisation was after her and allowing her to finally flee.

Hooker finally stood trial in 1984, and was convicted on multiple counts of kidnapping and sexual assault.

Janice – who had herself been sexually abused and tortured by Cameron from the age of 15 – received full immunity after testifying against him, offering police information about another woman called Marie Elizabeth Spannhake who Hooker is suspected of having tortured and murdered.

Hooker has been behind bars for 35 years. However, as recently reported by KCCR News, he could be looking at a possible parole as soon as 2021.

The Tehama County Deputy Sheriffs Association Facebook have given the following statement about Hooker’s potential release:

Apparently this is based on Gavin Newson’s desire to lower the prison population.

What is most concerning is that he is suspected in the kidnapping and torture of another woman, Marie Spannhake. However, due to fact that her body cannot be located he was never charged or convicted of those crimes.

A Change.org petition to stop Hooker being allowed back into society has gained nearly 800 signatures at the time of writing.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.

Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays.

Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Cameron Hooker, Colleen Stan, Janice Hooker, The Girl In The Box

Credits

Crime Documentaries/YouTube and 3 others
  1. Crime Documentaries/YouTube

    The Girl in the Box: The Kidnapping of Colleen Stan (Crime Documentary)

  2. Closer

    Kidnap victim: I was locked in a box for 7 years!'

  3. KCCR News

    Girl In The Box: Captor, Cameron Hooker looking at possible parole

  4. Change.org

    Stop the release of Cameron Hooker because of COVID-19