American history is awash with tragic stories of kidnapping and torture but Colleen Stan’s kidnapping account stands out as one of the most disturbing. The sheer effort, planning, manipulation and execution over a 7-year-period is simply staggering. In most kidnapping cases, the victim is usually held up for a long period until a rescue of some sort occurs, or a ransom is agreed. However, in this case, Cameron Hooker actually grants his victim the freedom to travel and even get a job as a maid at a motel! Though some level of freedom was granted, Cameron had brainwashed Colleen to the point that she was utterly helpless and incapable of leaving her captors.
How Colleen Stan’s Kidnapping Happened
Colleen Stan was a young 23-year-old who was hitchhiking from Eugene, Oregon, to Northern California along Interstate 5 when she ran into a young unassuming couple. The then 23-year-old Cameron Hooker pulled over and Colleen innocently hopped in. In the front seat was Cameron’s 19-year-old wife Janice who at the time was carrying the couple’s, 8-month old baby. The presence of the nursing mother reassured her, little did she know she couldn’t be further from the truth.
Half an hour into the ride, Cameron pulled away from the road and brandished a knife, threatening to harm Colleen. She was locked in a headbox and carried to the couple’s home in Red Bluff, California. When they got home, Colleen was tied up on the ceiling naked, blindfolded and tortured. On her first night, she was made to watch Cameron and Janice have “celebratory sex” after torture.
The Motive Behind The Kidnapping
Unknown to Colleen, Cameron and his wife Janice had reached an agreement to allow him to have a sex slave. Cameron was fixated on violent acts of sex and had almost killed his wife on many occasions, they reached a compromise that involved Janice permitting Cameron to have a slave.
Colleen Stan was locked away for an astonishing 23 hours every day and was beaten, electrocuted and on many occasions raped vaginally with implements for seven years.
Cameron coerced Colleen into signing a “slave contract” drawn up by Janice. The terms stated that she accepts to be a slave for life. Over the course of Colleen Stan’s kidnapping, Cameron kept her in fear by telling her that he was a member of a dangerous cult that he simply referred to as “The Company”. He told her that if she ever tried to escape, she would be seen by his colleagues, tracked down and crucified. He also told her that they’d eliminate her family as well if she tried anything funny.
Over time, the couple moved to a mobile house where Cameron constructed another box, this time the size of a coffin. The box was placed under the couple’s water bed. During these years, Cameroon and his wife Janice had another child. The kids grew up not knowing their parents had a prisoner all along.
The strangeness of Colleen Stan’s kidnapping was that she was brainwashed to the extent that she was allowed after 3 years to visit her family in the company of Cameron Hooker, introducing him as his boyfriend.
Colleen’s Release and Cameron Hooker’s Trial
The tipping point came when Cameron informed his wife of his intentions to take in Coleen in as a second wife. At this point, Janice had enough. This was a breach of the pact they had. She had accepted this weird arrangement as a way of escaping the pain and trauma of Cameron’s violent sexual demands without necessarily losing him.
In April 1984, Janice broke the news to Colleen Stan that Cameroon was not part of “The Company”. She drove Colleen and her two daughters to a bus station and fled with her kids. Strangely, Colleen called Cameron back to tell him of her decision to leave and subsequently kept in touch over a period of three months with the hope that he’d change. She never contacted the police to report her 7-year ordeal.
Janice reported her husband to the police and gave full cooperation in exchange for immunity. She confessed that he was responsible for the kidnap and death of one Marie Elizabeth Spannhake, one of Cameron’s earlier victims who disappeared in January 1976.
She also confessed that she had been a victim of his abuse. She met Cameron at 15 and ever since then, she had been raped by him, on many occasions she had sex with him after being suspended on a tree and in some instances, submerged in water to the point of almost drowning. She told law enforcement that she accepted his proposal of having a sex slave as an escape from his barbaric demands.
Hooker was found guilty of sexual assaults, kidnapping, murder and sentenced to 104 years of imprisonment. The presiding judge exclaimed that Cameron Hooker was the most dangerous psychopath case he had ever dealt with.