‘Woman from the coffin’: they kidnapped her and forced her to live in a box for 7 years

Darkness and absolute silence were all Colleen Stan knew for seven long, endless years.. The rare moments when she could breathe the air outside the box in which they were locked 23 hours a day were an even worse nightmare than their captivity.

His mind became the best means of transportation, with it he could travel to all the places he wanted. No bus tickets or permission from her parents were needed, her imagination was an ally to combat the loneliness and sadness that took hold of her on those gloomy days when the unscrupulous wishes of her captor threatened to end her life. .

Resilience, courage and hope were his flag in the midst of the nightmare that hovered over his dreams and plans for the future. Today, almost fifteen decades later, she is the living portrait of a survivor who won the battle against one of the most dangerous psychopaths in the history of the United States and who, miraculously, managed to overcome the fateful destiny announced by entering a coffin.

(Also read: The woman who became a friend of her mother’s murderer to solve her crimes).

Colleen is not only a victim, but one of the few people who has won the battle against evil and lived to tell the tale.

The beginning of an endless nightmare

When pacifism and longing for freedom took to the streets of the United States in the 1970s, Colleen, a young woman of only 20 years of age, saw how a storm of violence, sadism and torture snatched the best years of her adulthood.

Standing on the side of the road, amidst the flora and fauna, she tried to see in the distance if any of the cars that were coming could bring her closer to Northern California, where she was going to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Of course, it was not expected that not only would she never arrive at the celebration, but that her story would end up becoming a synonym for tragedy.

(Keep reading: The heroic escape of a boy kidnapped and abused for seven years).

Without many financial resources and with a strong desire to share a pleasant time with her acquaintances, she raised her thumb in the air in the hope that someone would show solidarity and take her to her dream destination.

According to the British newspaper ‘Daily Mail’, two men who were in the front seats of a car were the first to offer to give him a ride. Faced with her tempting proposal, Colleen didn’t even think about it and turned down the free ride, as she was aware of the dangers she faced hitchhiking.

A second proposal came from the hand of a man traveling alone on the road. All the possible macabre scenarios began to interweave in his mind and just like he had done with the previous offer, he decided to reject it.

(Of interest: Marina Chapman, the girl ‘raised’ by monkeys in the jungles of Colombia after kidnapping).

With two failed hitchhiking attempts behind him, Colleen had no choice but to keep her eyes on the horizon waiting for a miracle that was not long in coming and it materialized in a blue Dodge Colt coupe. The seemingly supportive driver slowed down and pulled off the asphalt to land right next to the young woman in her twenties.

She thought she’d gotten lucky when a charismatic couple carrying a baby in their arms stopped to drive her from Oregon a few miles south in Westwood, California. At the wheel, a tender 24-year-old man with glasses and a harmless aura was accompanied by a woman, just as adorable as he was, who was carrying what seemed to be their son in her arms.

A voice told me to run and jump out a window and never look back

Recent and old criminal history has shown that the best criminals hide behind elaborate facades and this friendly duo of subjects would be no exception. The incessant glances of Cameron Hooker, the driver and one of the antagonists of this story, through the rearview mirror of the car announced the arrival of a new crime.

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“A voice told me to run and jump out a window and never look back”, were the disturbing and alarming thoughts that Colleen recalled years later in dialogue with the American magazine ‘People’. What followed was misery of indescribable depth and duration.

Although Colleen could sense that something was not right, in her first opportunity to flee from the couple she decided to silence the voices and signs that warned her of the danger to continue with her journey. After all, there was nothing safer than traveling as a family, right?

Their worst nightmare came when, with the excuse of exploring some nearby ice caves, the car they were traveling in stopped on a lonely, suspicious and inhospitable dirt road. Colleen’s fears came back to haunt her like an avalanche of ill omens. A hunch, a knife at her throat and a strange box with holes on her sides confirmed what she already feared at that time: she was being kidnapped and she didn’t know if she could get out of it alive.

(You may be interested in: USA: they suspend the execution of an inmate who had asked to donate a kidney).

500 kilometers later, Colleen lay in the Hooker house in Red Bluff, California, where she would spend the darkest years of her life subjected to all kinds of torture, confinement, and humiliation.

A new home in the shape of a coffin

I was terrified. Janice watched as Cameron tortured me and then they had sex in front of me. She was sure that they were going to kill me

According to the television channel ‘A&E’, upon arriving for the first time at the Hooker family’s family home, the scenario that Colleen had to face was devastating: Cameron undressed her and ordered her to put her hands up to hang her from the basement beams so you can whip it to your heart’s content. However, that was not all, what happened to Colleen minutes later was even worse.

(Read on: The strange case of a boy who disappeared 25 years ago ‘without a trace’).

“I was terrified. Janice watched as Cameron tortured me and then they had sex in front of me. She was sure they were going to kill me”Coleen told the British magazine ‘Closer’ referring to how Janice, Cameron’s partner (who also participated in his kidnapping) was part of the brutal torture to which she was subjected.

In a four-by-six-foot wooden box, Colleen couldn’t see the world continue before her eyes. For a long time, her life was plunged into a deep, unavoidable and unbearable darkness.

He could barely move or breathe. The heat was stifling, but his will to live was even stronger. “You just walk away from the real situation that’s going on and go somewhere else. You go somewhere nice, surrounded by people you love. Whatever makes you happy”, said the now 66-year-old woman in an interview with ‘People’ magazine in 2016.

From time to time they let her out, but what awaited her outside was far worse than her 23-hour-a-day captivity in that box. Rape, spanking and housework were just some of the harassment that Colleen had to face until 1984 by Cameron Hooker, an addict of violent pornography and a fan of sadomasochism.

(Also read: Kidnapped young woman asked for help through a home application).

According to ‘The Herald’, Cameron: “He electrocuted, burned, beat, raped and held (Colleen) in wooden mechanisms that caused her extreme pain.”

A lie in exchange for a more dignified life

The strategy of the psychopathic couple went perfectly: capture a woman who fulfilled Cameron’s sexual desires so that Janice would not have to suffer the unimaginable perversions of her partnerwho before the arrival of Colleen, immobilized her and hit her with objects to arouse her own pleasure.

Events took an unexpected turn when, approximately four years after her abduction, in 1981, Cameron agreed to allow Colleen to visit her parents. She convinced them that the man was her boyfriend and that they were a happy couple. The reason? Cameron had told her that if she dared to run away, a criminal group called ‘The Company’ would kill all of her relatives.

(Keep reading: What is known about ‘Mr. Cruel’, the pedophile whose identity is a mystery).

It was thus that little by little Colleen was earning a place in the family. From babysitting to yard work, less and less time was spent in the cramped, creepy box under the bed. Things would have stayed that way if it hadn’t been for Cameron showing his desire to make Stan his second wife, a decision Janice didn’t approve of at all.

Despite the constant abuse to which the young captive was subjected, Colleen began to fall in love with her captor; So much so that when Janice confessed that ‘The Company’ did not exist and that it was all Cameron’s invention to keep her, the woman chose to try to persuade him in the hope that a glimpse of kindness and redemption would appear in the heart of the reckless psychopath. To the surprise of few, that never happened.

(Of interest: Mother confesses to murdering her 5-year-old daughter, after denouncing her disappearance).

It was in August 1984 that, tired of the attacks and harassment, Janice made a radical decision: pack her bags, take her daughters and free Colleen, whom she left at a bus stop.

Paradoxically, justice did not come from Colleen’s hand, but it was Janice, in exchange for immunity and several months laterwho testified against his ex-partner for the kidnapping, torture and murder of Marie Elizabeth Spannhake, a young woman who disappeared in January 1976. Cameron was sentenced to 104 years in prison for this crime.

In an interview with ‘KRCR’, Colleen expressed that Cameron: “He’s just an evil person. He just is… I’d really love to say he’s a different person… but he’s not.”

(Also: The heinous crimes of Frank Atwood, the last executed in the US).

Colleen is clear that her past can never be the master of her future. In one of the many interviews she gave for the local media, she acknowledged that: “Once you regain that freedom and you have that option again, it’s as if the doors open… And you just run through it.”

You can also read:

Mary Bell: the bloody crimes of an 11-year-old girl who murdered her neighbors

The ‘army of the dead’ that faced the Germans: ‘They spit out their lungs’

Crimes committed by murderous children that horrified the world

The murderer of criminals who claimed the lives of more than 70 and is now ‘youtuber’

Husbands who abused and disappeared their daughters and other young women in their home


‘Woman from the coffin’: they kidnapped her and forced her to live in a box for 7 years