The horrifying story of Colleen Stan: Victim was kept IN A BOX as sex slave for 7 years before hair-raising escape

The horrifying story of Colleen Stan: Victim was kept IN A BOX as sex slave for 7 years before hair-raising escape
Colleen Stan, now 64, was kidnapped by Cameron (L) and Janice Hooker (R). Her life story is depicted in the film 'Girl in The Box' by Paramount + (Inside Edition/ YouTube, morbidpodcast/ Instagram)

This article contains graphic content that could be traumatic for some readers. Discretion is advised.

A true crime drama based on terrifying true events will premiere in the UK this month and is being called by some the "scariest movie of the year." 'Girl in the Box,' which will be broadcast by Paramount +, tells the story of Colleen Stan, 64, who was kidnapped in 1977 before being tortured, raped, and forced by her captors to spend up to 23 hours a day in a box.

The film, which features Addison Timlin, Zane Holtz, and Zelda Williams, is based on Colleen's seven-year ordeal. During that time, it turned out that she was forced to spend so much time in a box that she became known as "the girl in the box."


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Colleen, then 20 years old, was hitchhiking from her home in Eugene, Oregon, to her boyfriend's birthday party in May 1977. Before accepting a ride, she let two cars pass and got into the car of Cameron Hooker, 23, and his wife, Janice. She thought the couple, who had their toddler with them, would be a good choice, but she was to be tragically mistaken. Hooker had stopped at a gas station to use the restroom. Later, Colleen claimed she felt compelled to leave the couple at that point.

She claimed, "A voice told me to run and jump out the window and never look back." However, she turned away from the voice and walked back to the car. After about 30 minutes, Hooker turned onto a secluded dirt road. He tied Colleen up, gagged her, and put a wooden box over her head while holding a knife to her throat.

This contraption, which Hooker called a "headbox," was designed to keep out light and noise. Hooker drove the 30 miles to the house in Red Bluff, California, that he shared with Janice and her child, dragged Colleen inside, undressed her, and hung her by the wrists while she was naked.

Colleen was forced to sign a 'slave contract'

The young woman had to endure his abuse for seven more years, including starvation, flogging, and burns. Colleen was forced to sign a "slave contract" that required her to perform any task Hooker deemed necessary, including housework and caring for his children, as well as having sex with him. Worse, he would tie her by the wrists to the ceiling or leave her for days with a 20-pound wooden box wrapped around her head, blocking her view of the outside world.

In addition to a stretcher that permanently injured her back and one of her shoulders, he also constructed other torture devices for Stan. Hooker also locked her in a wooden box he kept under his marital bed for 23 hours at a time. Colleen claimed that during this time she managed to focus on pleasant memories.

In the year 2016, Colleen told People, "I learned I could go anywhere in my mind. She added, "You just remove yourself from the real situation going on and you go somewhere else. You go somewhere pleasant, around people you love. Whatever makes you happy."

'Hooker had tight psychological control over her'

Over time, Colleen gained more freedom and was occasionally allowed to leave the mobile home alone to jog, work in the garden, and watch the Hooker children. She did not try to escape during this time because Hooker had psychologically manipulated her into believing that a powerful entity he called "The Company" was watching her at all times and would ensure that any attempt to escape would have dire consequences. Because Hooker had such strong psychological control over her, when she was given permission to visit her family alone in 1981, she immediately returned to him.

Hooker's wife helped Colleen to escape

Colleen did not escape until 1984 with the assistance of Hooker's wife, Janice. Hooker confessed to his wife that he intended to make Colleen his second wife and bring more female slaves to live with him. Therefore, Janice informed Colleen that Hooker was not an employee of The Company and helped her leave. He reportedly broke down in tears as she made her way to a bus stop and called Hooker to tell him she was leaving. Colleen refused to report him to the police because she wanted to give him a chance to change, but he was arrested after Janice went to the police and agreed to testify in exchange for immunity. In 1985, Hooker, now 68, was sentenced to 104 years in prison for kidnapping, torturing, and raping Colleen.

'Hooker -the most dangerous psychopath'

The Los Angeles Times reported that after Hooker's sentencing, Superior Court Judge Clarence B Knight referred to him as "the most dangerous psychopath I have ever encountered."

Hooker, a prisoner at California State Prison in Corcoran, was told he would not have a parole hearing for at least 15 years after being denied one in 2015. In the meantime, Colleen married, had a daughter, and attended college to pursue a degree in accounting after returning home. She also became a member of a group that supports abused women. Many plays, books, and documentaries have been made about her story.

Paramount + will also air a two-part documentary about Colleen that highlights her experiences during the seven years she was incarcerated and her testimony at Hooker's trial. On September 19, 2022, Paramount+ will air 'Girl In The Box' and 'Girl In The Box: The True Story.'

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