May 29, 2022

Colleen Stan // 113 // Girl in the box // Part 2

Colleen Stan // 113 // Girl in the box // Part 2

Colleen Stan hitchhiked out of Eugene, Oregon on May 19, 1977.  She was kidnapped by Cameron and Jan Hooker and held as a sex slave for seven years.  She was locked in a small coffin-like wooden box the Hookers kept under their bed.  Colleen was forced to sign a slavery contract and she was told about an organized crime group called "The Company" that could harm her or her family if she didn't comply.  Colleen is a survivor.


  • SNAPPED S99 E7 Notorious: The Girl in the Box 
  • Perfect Victim by Christine McGuire and Carla Norton
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RECAP PT 1: On May 19th, 1977, 20 year old Colleen Stan was kidnapped by Cameron and Jan Hooker. She was blindfolded, hung from the ceiling and whipped. She was locked up in the house and kept in the basement to be tortured. When Cameron was reading a newspaper article, he saw a slavery contract. He had Jan type one up and they got Colleen to sign it. He told her about The Company which is a network of slave traders who turned captive women into profit. She had to wear a collar around her neck for identification, but she was now allowed to move around the house to do chores since the rules had been established. The house the Hookers lived in wasn't ideal because they had close neighbors, so they bought a single wide trailer instead. Cameron built a waterbed with an elaborate base so Colleen could fit in a box underneath the bed. 

On a random day in 1980, Colleen was removed from the box and she was told to shower. She was fixed up with clothing, makeup, and a new hairdo and she was told she was going out dancing with Jan. Jan took her to a local bar where they drank beer, danced, and hung out with a few men. They went out to coffee with these guys and went to their apartment afterwards. Jan and her fellow went into his room for awhile. It seems that she was trying to make Cameron jealous by cheating on him, but he genuinely didn't care and told her she could date other men. For a few months, she did just that. Jan would meet the guy at the bar, but the affair fizzled out quickly.

When Jan lost her job at the restaurant, they decided it was Colleen's turn to work. Cameron drove Colleen to local concerts and made her panhandle for spare change. It didn't take Jan long to find a new job, but the hours were different. Now, she worked at the same time as Cameron everyday. This left Colleen completely unsupervised for the very first time. She got to babysit the girls and do her chores and she was even allowed to sleep out of the box on the floor of the back bathroom. She was chained to the toilet, but it was better than the box. 

The Hookers had worked hard to make sure their two girls weren't home when Colleen was tortured. When their daughter, Cathy was three, she woke up early, opened the bathroom door, and asked Colleen to make her breakfast. She couldn't because she was chained up still and Cameron got mad that she had seen this. From that moment on, Colleen had to lock the bathroom door each night.

The new job that Jan got was at a small electronics place where they prepped parts to fit on assembly boards. Business was booming and they had trouble keeping up. Jan spoke to her boss and asked if she could work from home too and he agreed. So, she worked at the shop during the day, then loaded up the machine and brought it home for Colleen to work every night. It was great until her boss realized he had to pay her time and half. She had Colleen fill out a job application so she could be paid separate and she could sign all her checks over to them. 

During this time, Colleen began begging to see her family, but that was an obvious no. She had no idea that her family hired a private detective and the detective said she was dead and wouldn't keep working the case. Her family kept searching and they didn't believe she was dead, but their hope was fading as time went on and they wanted to find the truth. Cameron did allow her to finally write to her sister three times though. She told her sister that she lived with a family and she was taking care of their kids. Cameron thoroughly checked the letters and he mailed them with no return address. The letters were great, but Colleen wanted more and she kept asking to see her family. Cameron took her to a payphone in a small college town and let her call. Her sister, Bonnie answered the phone and didn't recognize her voice. She said, who is this? And she heard, It's your sister, Colleen. She had a very brief conversation and Colleen learned that she had a sister who was now three years old. 

Colleen was experiencing more freedoms than she had in a long time and she told Cameron she loved him. It seemed to soften him a bit and the abuse wasn't quite as bad. He even said that he loved her too and he talked about secret fantasies and the future with her. The family could move to a private cabin and the two of them could have children together. That year for Christmas, Colleen was shocked when she received a gift, well 2 actually. She received a new sleeping bag and best of all, she got to call home and talk to her father briefly.

The tension in the home was growing stronger as Jan became more jealous of Colleen. Both of the women started complaining to Cameron about each other. He brought both women out separately to be punished and he told Jan she could quit her job and stay home with the girls. Then, he told Colleen that The Company was allowing her to see her family, but she would need to go through obedience tests. His parents were out of town, so he brought his whole family to their house and he took Colleen out to the barn to be hung and tortured. Suddenly, they heard a car. He realized his parents were home, so he scrambled to get her down. Cameron's father opened the barn door and saw Colleen getting dressed. No one said anything about the barn incident, but Colleen had red marks on her wrists from being hung and the child, Cathy, kept asking if she scratched herself. 

Since this test hadn't gone as planned, Cameron came up with another one. One night, he made Colleen kneel on the ground, grab his gun, put the barrel in her mouth, and pull the trigger. She pulled the trigger and heard a click. Cameron said The Company could now move forward with bugging her family's homes and cars and he said it would cost him $30k to let her see her family. He made Colleen go tell the neighbors she was leaving for good and getting on the bus. They all said their goodbyes and Cameron made it look like he was going to drop her off. The two of them began the drive to Southern California and rehearsed their story the whole time. Colleen had to tell her family that Cameron was her boyfriend named Mike. He was dropping her off with them while he attended a computer seminar. The two of them were engaged and in the process of moving. That's why they don't have an address or number, but they could send that information once they're settled into their new place. Around 7 PM that night, Cameron brought Colleen to a payphone so she could call her father and say she was coming over. Colleen got Cameron to stop by her grandma's house so they could quickly say hello and then they had to go. Before they got to her father's house, Cameron said that The Company was willing to take someone from her family to torture and kill if she said anything she wasn't supposed to. He said they already set stuff up at her parent's house to watch them and had bugged their phone and she would be immediately removed if she said the wrong thing. 

When they arrived at her father's Cameron didn't meet anyone. He tossed her stuff out of the car and left. Colleen's family was thrilled that she was there, but they wondered if she left because of something they did or said. They were scared to ask too many questions and did their best to make her comfortable. They noticed that she was extremely thin, no longer curvy and her hair was dingy and thin. She was wearing handmade clothing too. The family reminisced about old times and they dug out the photos. The family knew something was off with her and wondered if she was in some kind of religious commune. She was supposed to stay there the entire weekend, but she was there for about 24 hours and Cameron came to get her. 

The family insisted on taking photos of her and Cameron or Mike as the family knew him. When they got back to the Hooker house, Colleen was told to vacuum out the box under the bed because she was going back. The year out of the box had come to an end and she was back in full isolation. The neighbors thought she had left and the children didn't even know she was still there. She spent 22 to 23 hours a day in isolation and locked in the box for the next 3 years. Next to the bed, there was a small space where Colleen's purse was kept and there a picture of a young lady. Colleen saw this picture every time she went in and out of the box. She didn't know who it was, but it was a photo of a woman that was missing and that will come up later. 

At one point, when Colleen was locked in the box, a mouse got in. It was running all over her body and it finally slipped out a hole.

Jan eventually needed to get away from Cameron and she left the home for a brief period of time. When she came back, they decided to confess their lies to each other. Jan said that she lied about being pregnant so he'd marry her and she had two brief affairs. Cameron wasn't phased by any of this, but Jan was devastated when he said he had sex with Colleen on more occasions than the one time she knew about. She'd been telling herself for years that he wouldn't do it and she was betrayed. They decided to work on their marriage and turn to religion. Jan would read the Bible to Cameron and he picked out the parts that seemed relevant to him. He said that it was clear that God was in agreement that a wife should serve her husband and if she didn't obey, she would go to hell. Since the Bible indicated that women should pray with their heads covered, he got Jan a “prayer hat” in reality, it was a ski hat, but he forced her to wear it as a sign of submission. The Bible was being used as a tool of enslavement and Colleen was also gifted a prayer hat so she could wear it when she read the Bible as well. This is actually what helped build the relationship between Colleen and Jan for the first time. When Cameron would go to work, Jan would take Colleen out of the box for Bible study, chores, and even lunch. The two women realized that they actually had a lot in common.

Cameron and Jan decided that it was time to let Colleen out of the box again and reintroduce her to their kids. They started feeding her more so she could gain weight and she became the babysitter full time and they brought her to the neighbor's and were like, look who came back! The real reason they brought her out was because Cameron decided she needed to get a job. He told her that he couldn't afford the security fees for The Company, so she needed to help out. In May of 1984, seven years after her abduction, she was going to get a job. Jan drove her around to different businesses so she could apply and she was hired on the spot at a motel as a maid. Colleen was thrilled to have some freedoms back. She was now allowed to garden at the house in the morning, then she would bike the 3 and a half miles to work. 

At work, Colleen's boss was incredibly pleased with her and she soon got a promotion and a raise. Her co-workers did notice that something was extremely off though. When the maids went on break, they typically bought something to drink from the vending machines, but Colleen never had enough money. She said that with room and board, she was only left with $20 from each paycheck. 

Colleen loved her freedoms and got the courage to ask if she could go to church. Cameron agreed and let both women go every Sunday. He had worked to build up their fear based on the Bible and didn't realize that religion was the very thing that would eventually give them strength. On the first day that the ladies attended church, Jan started to cry during the service. The Pastor interpreted the Bible in a VERY different way than her husband had. She was slowly realizing that he was using the Bible against her. 

Jan had always been very jealous of Colleen and barely spent any time with her unless it was to give her orders. Now, the two of them were spending hours a day, reading the Bible and having in depth discussions a few times a week. At night, Cameron would take Colleen outside and they were working on building a secret torture chamber under the shed. Since the children were getting older, Cameron couldn't continue the bondage in the house, so he figured he could make a chamber large enough for this and he could get more slaves and keep them in the dungeon. He ultimately wanted to capture 4 more women and start having children with them.

Jan was in a really tough spot. She already hated that they kidnapped Colleen, but 4 more women? She knew if she fought too hard, her husband might kill her. If she went to the police, she would get in trouble because she was guilty too and then she would lose her kids. She couldn't escape and take off on her own, because she didn't want to leave her girls behind. Cameron was busy coming up with his own plans and he had an idea that he called alternate night system. He announced that he would sleep with his wife or slave for two nights, then switch. Jan confided in Colleen and told her she was thinking about leaving, but Colleen begged her to stay because she was afraid to be with Cameron by herself.

Jan tried to seek out many Pastors to ask advice, but she obviously wasn't giving full details about the situation, so she was told to go to her husband and try to work things out. So, they probably assumed it was normal marital issues. She met a couple at church and felt that she could open up to them. Not completely. They discussed topics about ethics and even talked about how husbands should show love to their wives. Jan went back to her Pastor and presented her issues as a love triangle situation and the Pastor told her that they were living in sin and needed to change their ways. This was the tipping point for Jan.

On August 9th, 1984, she arrived at King's Lodge and asked to speak with Colleen. The manager led her to the room Colleen was cleaning and Jan blurted out what she had been holding in all along. The Company, the slavery contract, it was all lies. The women cried together and Colleen walked up to her boss and said she needed to quit. Jan called the Pastor to set up a meeting. The two of them poured some of the story out and he told them they needed to pack and leave immediately, but it wasn't that simple. It was almost 4 PM and Cameron would be heading home. They couldn't leave because the girls were still at the house. The Pastor suggested that they go home and act as if everything was normal, then they could leave the next day when Cameron was at work, so that's exactly what they did. Jan told Cameron she wasn't feeling well and she slept by Colleen that night. 

The next morning, Cameron left for work at 5 AM and the women packed immediately. They sent the kids off to Bible school, collected everything they needed, picked up the kids and headed to Jan's parent's house. Colleen and Jan talked about the possibility of getting a place together to take care of the girls. Maybe they could stay with Jan's parents or go to Colleen's parent's house. They didn't have a solid plan, but Colleen did have a voice in her head telling her that she needed to get away. She called her dad and asked if he could wire her $100 for the bus fare home. He was stunned to even hear from her and sent the money right away. The next morning, she got her ticket home. She called Cameron and said, “I just wanted to tell you that I'm leaving, that I know you lied about everything, and you can't keep me here anymore.”

Colleen met her father and other family members at the bus station and they desperately wanted to know where she had been all those years. She started to tell them the story over breakfast and other details spilled out over the next several days. Colleen loved her new freedom and she got a job as a housekeeper at a local hospital. She was having a hard time finding her own identity and it was difficult to completely break free from Jan and Cameron. They had been her whole world for 7 years. No one understood what Colleen was feeling, except Jan. The two women talked on the phone almost daily and they also wrote letters. Colleen also talked to Cameron on the phone sometimes too. Jan explained that they were going to church now and Cameron was really trying to change, so when she she asked Colleen not to go to the police, she agreed. Colleen's family was not thrilled about this and kept encouraging her to go to the police, but she was ready to put everything behind her and move on with her life.

Jan stayed away from Cameron for a week, but she didn't tell her family the truth about why she left him and he started calling her and begging her to come back, saying he would change. When Jan went back, the two of them started going to church together and they even had private talks with Pastor Dabney. Jan told the Pastor that her husband had handcuffs, whips, porn, and other items. He advised that they should get rid of it all. Jan asked her husband if they could burn everything and he agreed. The magazines, whips, cuffs, gas mask, slavery contract, and photos were piled into a barrel and burned. She thought that meant the end of all of this, but she was wrong. Once Cameron was done with his little charade of fooling his wife into thinking he had changed, he stopped going to church and told her he figured everything out. He read an article in a magazine that explained what was wrong with him. He just had a hormonal imbalance and the cure is really simple. You just need to drink a beer every night. 

Jan decided she had enough and this time it was for good. She packed her stuff and left with her daughters. She really leaned into religion even more than she had previously, but Pastor Dabney was on vacation and Jan needed someone to talk to someone. She went to a doctor's appointment, but started talking to the receptionist, Connie Fleming. They talked for two hours and Jan asked her many questions about initiative and strength. Connie set up another meeting for the two of them to talk when the doctor would be out of the office, but they had many conversations on the phone that week as well. Jan had a lot of conflicting feelings and wondered if Cameron really was trying to change. Maybe she shouldn't have left. She decided to stop by the mobile home and look around. She found a large collection of porn, nude sculptures of women, and bondage devices. He lied to her.

Jan went to her meeting with Connie and she handed her a list of questions.

  • Did any of your fears try and take you over?
  • Did you ever go and cry on someone else?
  • Did you ever say I can't?
  • What made you change and where did you get the strength?
  • What does religion mean to you?
  • Are you afraid of your husband?
  • What gives you strength every day to go on?
  • Did you get angry?
  • How do you let that anger out?
  • Did you believe in God before?
  • What do you feel about the enemy of your soul? 

The two talked for hours and Connie gently asked Jan what she was so afraid of and Jan said, it was her evil husband. She said he gets off on sex games and bondage and ties people up to take photos. She even talked about the kidnapping and Connie asked her why she didn't do anything and Jan said, I did. I let her go. Connie knew this was way out of her league of expertise here, so she advised her friend to talk to a counselor or go to the police. Jan was afraid that Cameron would seek retaliation if she told or that she would be locked up as an accomplice and lose her daughters. Connie said, “You should turn him in because he might do something to your girls.” That struck a nerve with Jan and she was in Pastor Dabney's office that afternoon. She told him the real story about everything that her husband did and with her permission, he called the police. 

Detective Al Shamblin was dispatched to the church and Jan was in hysterics. She could barely form a whole sentence. The detective was very worried about her mental state and considered sending her to the county mental health unit, but she called her counselor and was able to calm down. Detective Shamblin went to the District Attorney seeking immunity for Jan in exchange for her cooperation. The DA was very skeptical of the entire story, especially the slave part, but the agreement was made. 

If Jan took the immunity deal, she would have to waive her marital privilege to not testify against her husband. Under California law, once this is waived, it's waived forever. After Jan was offered immunity, she started telling her story, but did claim to have forgotten many details. She didn't seem convinced that she truly had immunity and even asked to have the tape recorder turned off. She was able to ID evidence that was shown to her such as whips, the head box, magazines, and various other items. She seemed very shaken when she found out that the police had a copy of the slavery contract that they had deliberately burned. Cameron had taken photos of it and they found the undeveloped film inside a book. They also found VERY graphic photos of Jan and Colleen.

Jan had another bombshell to drop on them. Colleen wasn't the only woman Cameron kidnapped. In 1976, the two of them were driving around and Cameron saw a woman with long, dark hair, walking alone. He offered her a ride and she said her name was Marliz and she wanted to be dropped off at her apartment. When they arrived, Marliz attempted to get out, but Cameron grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back in. He tied her up and put the head box on and he headed towards his home in Red Bluff. Marliz begged them to let her go and Jan reassured her that everything was fine and she had no idea what Cameron was doing, but she was sure he'd let Marliz go. Cameron took Marliz to the basement, stripped off her clothes, and hung her by her wrists from the ceiling. He used a knife to cut her vocal chords. This was actually a threat he used when he kidnapped Colleen. Marliz wrote on a piece of paper that her boyfriend could get money to them to get her back, but Cameron refused this. Cameron shot her several times in the lower abdomen with a pellet gun and strangled her to death. 

Jan was shocked when she found out he had killed her and the two of them wrapped Marliz in a blanket, loaded her in the trunk of the car and drove around for awhile. When he found a place, they dug a hole and buried her body. Cameron burned her ID, purse, and other belongings at a park, but he kept a small gold watch and wore it for awhile before losing it on a conveyor belt at work. Cameron has never been charged with this murder and there is little evidence in the case of her disappearance. Her body hasn't been discovered and the case remains open. However, Marliz did disappear from the area that Jan said they took her and around the time she claimed as well. She lived in the apartments that Jan said they drove to and was last seen in the exact outfit that Jan described. Her real name is Marie Elizabeth Spannhake, but she went by Marliz which isn't something Jan should know if she never met her. One of Cameron's coworkers remembers that he wore a woman's gold watch to work for awhile and he asked him about it. Cameron claimed he lost his and had to wear his wife's watch instead. 

On the day of her disappearance, Marliz went to a flea market with her fiance and they got into a fight. She left on foot and he became the obvious prime suspect in the case. Her fiance was cleared once he passed the polygraph test. When Jan was shown a photo line up of missing women, she correctly identified Marie Spannhake. 

Detectives wanted to get back to talking about Colleen and Jan really struggled with this. She cried, rambled, lost her train of thought, and talked a lot about religion. They just couldn't understand why Colleen would stay there if she was being tortured and Jan said they were both brainwashed. She said Cameron had a supernatural kind of control over them and he used the Bible to reinforce the things he told them.

Jan was actually the one that turned Cameron in, but now she wanted to take it all back. She told Cameron's lawyer that she knew for a fact that he never raped Colleen and she could destroy her entire story. The lawyer met with his new client, Cameron and felt that he was completely honest. He asked him how he met Colleen Stan and Cameron said, “I kidnapped her.” 


  • SNAPPED S99 E7 Notorious: The Girl in the Box 
  • Perfect Victim by Christine McGuire and Carla Norton