20-year-old Colleen Stan wanted to go to attend a friend’s birthday party in Oregon, so she did what many young people did in the 1970s and walked along the highways of California holding out her thumb. Eventually, someone would stop. It was a couple with a baby. Stan believed that because there had been a baby present in the car that the couple was safe to go with and climbed in. That moment would set off seven years of pure torture.
Cameron Hooker, along with his wife Jan drove with Colleen for approximately a half an hour before pulling off onto a secluded road. Holding a knife to Colleen’s throat, Hooker proceeded to tie her up and place a wooden box over her head before the couple took her back to their home in Red Bluff, California.
Back at the Hookers’ home, Hooker told Colleen that he had been a part of an underground sex network that he called “The Company” and that she was now their sex slave. She was also told that if at any point she had attempted to escape or contact the police that members of the group would track her down and kill her.
Colleen was forced to wear the box around her head and hide under the couple’s bed for 23 hours a day, only allowed out when Hooker wished to rape or torture her. This head box was later upgraded to a larger box resembling a coffin. While in captivity Colleen was renamed “Kay” and forced to refer to Hooker only as “Master.”
While Hooker was especially cruel to Colleen, she says that he was exceptionally affectionate and loving towards the daughter he and Jan shared. Colleen began to write love notes to Hooker in hopes that he would be kinder to her and relished in any small displays of affection he showed towards her. This information was later used against Colleen as evidence that she had been at the couple’s home willingly, but it is believed that she had developed Stockholm Syndrome.
In 1983, Hooker allowed Colleen to have a bit more freedom and she was able to take up a job as a maid. She was introduced to the Hookers’ children, the second of which being born while Colleen had been in captivity, and had been told that “Kay” went home every evening. Hooker also began asking Colleen to become his second wife.
Jan Hooker told Colleen that they both had to leave the home in August of 1984. Colleen was taken to the bus station. From there she phoned Hooker and told him that she was leaving him. Hooker burst into tears. For the three months following her release, Colleen continued to contact Hooker, and never thought to contact authorities. It wasn’t until November of 1984 that Jan contacted the police and told them everything.
Hooker was sentenced to 104-years without the possibility of parole. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Clarance Knight referred to Hooker as, “the most dangerous psychopath I have ever encountered.”
Janice Hooker was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony against her husband. In addition to the kidnap and torture of Colleen Stan, Jan also alleged that Hooker had kidnapped, raped and tortured Marie Elizabeth Spannhake, who had disappeared from Chico, California a year before the couple had kidnapped Colleen Stan.
According to Janice the couple took Spannhake back to their home where Hooker chained her to the rafters, shot her in the abdomen with a pellet gun and then strangled her to death. With little evidence to support these claims no murder charges were ever brought against Hooker and Spannhake’s disappearance remains officially unsolved.