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In 1977, 20-Year-Old Colleen Stan accepted a ride from a couple who held her as a prisoner in a wooden box, underneath the bed the couple shared.

Colleen Stan
Colleen Stan was 22 when she was abducted

The couple who kidnapped her released her only from her confinement to beat her and force her to engage in intimate relations. Colleen was able to escape her horrific ordeal in 1984 with the help of his wife and returned to her family.

Colleen Stan was known as ‘The Girl In The Box,’ and her story inspired people around the world. The details of what happened to Colleen J. Stan are very disturbing.


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Who Is Colleen Stan?

Colleen J Stan was born on December 31, 1956, and considered herself an experienced hitchhiker. Colleen was hitchhiking from her home in Eugene to her friend’s home in northern California, to attend a birthday party, and on that unfortunate day, she had already turned down two rides.

Colleen Stan
Colleen Stan believed that she was an experienced hitchhiker

However, when a blue van pulled near her, she felt confident to get into the van as the man driving had his family with him, his wife, and a baby.

As it turned out the young couple, Cameron Hooker, 23, and his 19-year-old wife Janice, had been actively looking for a hitchhiker to kidnap. Cameron was a lumber mill worker and had intense bondage fantasies. Before they kidnapped, Cameron was using his wife Janice to fulfill his fantasies.


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Kidnapping Of Colleen Stan?

When they were 30 minutes into the ride Cameron stopped the van in a remote area and held a knife to Colleen’s throat and forced her into a ‘head box’ that was designed to prevent light, sound, and fresh air from entering.

Cameron Hooker and Janice Hooker
Janie and Cameron Hooker

Initially, the couple had an agreement that Cameron wasn’t allowed to engage in sexual activity with Colleen. On the first night of her kidnapping, Colleen Stan was tied up and forced to watch the couple have sex after they physically abused her.


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Colleen Was Forced To Sign A Slave Contract

After taking Stan home, Cameron threatened her with a knife, tortured her, and kept her locked in a coffin-like wooden box for 23 hours a day. The couple had two daughters, who never realized that Stan was being kept against her will and had no idea that she was living in the house.

Slave Contract that Colleen Was Forced To Sign
Slave Contract that Colleen Was Forced To Sign

When the Hooker family moved to a mobile home, they kept Stan locked in a wooden box under the couple’s water bed.

She was kept like this for several months until Cameron forced her into signing a slave contract, which forced Stan to give up her own freedom and allow herself to be treated as Cameron and Janice’s property.

In 1978 Janice gave birth to the second child on the water bed above Colleen Stan. Cameron would let her out of the box for one or two hours a day, where she would clean herself and babysit the children.

“Throughout my captivity, I was never told what was going to happen next or why. This lack of knowledge was used by Master(Cameron) to maintain a continuous element of fear and control over me. Anytime I was taken out of the box, I never knew what to expect. Fear of the unknown was always with me as I was kept in the dark both physically and mentally,” said Stan.


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For Colleen Stan Regular Beating Wasn’t The Worst Part, “The Company” Was

Although Colleen was subjected to regular beatings and rape, she didn’t consider her torture to be the worst part of her confinement. What scared her was Cameron’s claims that she was being watched by a large, powerful organization called “The Company.”

Representation of how Colleen Stan was locked in a box
A representation of how Colleen Stan was locked in a box

Colleen was told that the powerful organization “The Company” watched over her and would torture her family if she tried to escape, and they had her family’s home bugged.

Colleen said that even with an open door, neighbors, and a telephone, she never made an attempt to escape as she was scared of “The Company,” according to Colleen her fear of the organization kept her from seeking help.


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Colleen Stan Was Allowed To Visit Her Family

Cameron even allowed Colleen to visit her family by herself in March 1981, after more than three years of captivity. Cameron took Stan to visit her parents, she was so scared that she did not reveal her situation due to the fear of The Company, and told them that everything is fine.

Colleen Stan with Cameron Hooker
Colleen Stan with Cameron Hooker

Stan’s family believed that she was part of a cult because of her homemade clothes, no money, and no communication over the years. Stan returned to her house the next day with Cameron, posing as her boyfriend. Her parents even took a picture(above) of the happy couple to document being reunited with the family.

Cameron feared that he had given Stan too much freedom and took Stan back to his mobile home and locked her in the wooden box, under his water bed, for the next three years.

It was stated in court that Cameron would free Stan only when his children had gone to bed. She was not allowed to make a noise for 23 hours in the day, with not much air to breathe.


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How Did Colleen Stan Escape?

Cameron introduced Stan to the children and neighbors in 1983, she was allowed to work, she got a job as a maid at a motel. Cameron wanted Stan to become his second wife, which was the turning point for Janice.

Janice told Stan that she had also been tortured, brainwashed since their first date, and she was also referred to as a “whore” over the years by her husband, Cameron Hooker. She told that she survived the time by developing denial techniques and compartmentalized that aspect of her life

Janice revealed to Stan that Cameron was not part of “The Company” and she helped her escape.


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How did Colleen Stan recover?

Colleen Stan went to a bus station and phone Cameron that she was leaving him, she then caught a bus home and did not contact the police but continued to call Cameron regularly.

Colleen Stan

Janice told at her trials that she wanted to give Cameron Hooker a chance to reform but when she realized that he can’t be helped, three months later she reported her husband to the police.

Stan suffered chronic shoulder and back pain as a result of her 7 years in confinement. When she returned home she received extensive therapy.


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Cameron Hooker Trial

At the trials, Janice testified against her husband in exchange for full immunity, and Chris Hacher, a forensic psychologist testified for Cameron’s prosecution at the start of the 1985 trial.

Cameron Hooker during trial
Cameron Hooker During 1985 trial

Cameron Hooker was found guilty and sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 104 years for sexual assaults, kidnapping, and using a knife in the process. His request for parole was denied on April 16, 2015. She will be eligible for another hearing in 2030, but due to COVID-19, California officials contacted Stan and advised her that they were looking into possibly granting him parole in March 2021.


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Colleen Stan Today?

After the trial, Colleen Stan studied for an accounting degree and “tried to move on to a normal life, but misery followed her.” Stan rebuilt her life married and have a daughter of her own and is a grandmother now.

Colleen Stand today

Colleen Stan changed her name joined an organization committed to help and support to other women who have been the victims of abuse.


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Girl in the box movie?

Girl in the box, movie is about the life of Colleen Stan, she was 20 when she was kidnapped and kept in a coffin-sized box for the next 7 years, until one day she managed to escape.


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Colleen Stan might not have been Cameron’s only victim

During Cameron’s 1985 trial, Janice revealed that her husband captured another young woman, 19-year-old Marie Elizabeth Spannhake on January 31, 1976, a year before they abducted Colleen Stan. According to Janice, they picked her up while she was hitchhiking in Chico, CA.

Marie Spannhake
Maire Elizabeth Spannhake

They took Elizabeth to their home in Red buff where Cameron murdered her. Elizabeth’s body has never been found and authorities were not able to find enough evidence to charge Cameron for Elizabeth’s death.

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