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The Girl in the Box Colleen Stan details ordeal of being imprisoned in a coffin


A woman who was imprisoned in a box, raped, and tortured for seven years is giving a firsthand account of how she escaped the sadistic man who kidnapped her in 1977 and kept her as a sex slave. 

Colleen Stan, 64, shares her shocking story in the Oxygen network’s upcoming two-hour television special ‘Snapped Notorious: The Girl in the Box,’ which premieres on Saturday, July 17.      

The kidnapping survivor became known as ‘the girl in the box’ after it was revealed that she was forced into a coffin-like structure for 23 hours a day during much of her captivity. 

‘I don’t know how to explain what total darkness does to a human soul,’ she says in the trailer for the new special. 

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Nightmare: Colleen Stan, 64, shares her shocking kidnapping story in the Oxygen network’s upcoming two-hour television special ‘Snapped Notorious: The Girl in the Box’

Looking back: Stan was 20 when she got into Cameron and Janice Hooker’s car near her home in Eugene, Oregon, while hitchhiking to her friend’s birthday party in May 1977

Looking back: Stan was 20 when she got into Cameron and Janice Hooker’s car near her home in Eugene, Oregon, while hitchhiking to her friend’s birthday party in May 1977

Stan was just 20 years old when she got into Cameron and Janice Hooker’s car while hitchhiking to her friend’s birthday party from her home in Eugene, Oregon, on May 19, 1977.

She had hitchhiked before and let two cars pass before accepting a ride from the Hookers because they were a couple with a baby and seemed like the safe option. 

Terrifying: Hooker (pictured) bound and gagged her and placed a wooden box over the head before taking her to his home about 30 miles away in Red Bluff, California

Terrifying: Hooker (pictured) bound and gagged her and placed a wooden box over the head before taking her to his home about 30 miles away in Red Bluff, California

But around half an hour after getting into the car, Hooker pulled onto a dirt road and put a knife to Stan’s throat before he bound and gagged her and placed a wooden box over the head. 

Hours later, she was trapped in the basement of Hooker’s home 30 miles away in Red Bluff, California, where he stripped off her clothes and suspended her naked by her wrists. 

That was the start of the seven torturous years she spent as his captive.

‘He said, “Go ahead and scream, I’ll cut your vocal cords,’ she recalls in the preview clip for ‘Snapped Notorious: The Girl in the Box.’  

Stan was starved, whipped, and burned by Hooker, a 23-year-old lumber mill worker. He would tie her to the ceiling by her wrists or leave her for days with a 20-pound hinged wooden box around her head, blocking the outside world.

At other times she would be forced into a wooden box that was stored under the bed that Hooker shared with his wife Janice and kept there for 23 hours a day. He built torture devices for Stan, including a stretcher that caused permanent damage to her back and one of her shoulders. 

Inhumane: Hooker raped and tortured Stan during the seven years he held her captive, often keeping her in a coffin-like box (pictured) under his marital bed for 23 hours a day

Inhumane: Hooker raped and tortured Stan during the seven years he held her captive, often keeping her in a coffin-like box (pictured) under his marital bed for 23 hours a day

She was also forced to sign a ‘slave contract’ stating she had to do anything Hooker wanted, from sex to the more mundane such as household chores or looking after his children.

In 1978, Janice gave birth to a second baby on the water bed above Stan. 

Stan told People in 2016 that focused on the happy memories she had with her family and friends to try to keep sane.  

‘I learned I could go anywhere in my mind,’ she said. ‘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 convinced Stan that if she ever ran away a powerful organization known as ‘The Company’ would find her and would hurt her family.  

To avoid painful punishments, she said she tried to be a good slave and because of that, she was allowed out to jog, work in the yard, and care for the Hooker children alone in the mobile home.   

Indescribable: 'I don't know how to explain what total darkness does to a human soul,' Stan says in the trailer for the new special

Indescribable: ‘I don’t know how to explain what total darkness does to a human soul,’ Stan says in the trailer for the new special

Free: Hooker's wife Janice helped Stan escape in 1984, and he was handed a 104-year sentence for her kidnap, torture, and rape

Free: Hooker’s wife Janice helped Stan escape in 1984, and he was handed a 104-year sentence for her kidnap, torture, and rape

Even with an open door, neighbors, and a telephone, Stan made no attempt to escape; she said that her fear of The Company kept her from seeking help.

For years, neighbors believed she was just the family’s helper.

In 1981 she was even allowed to visit her family alone, but then she returned to Hooker, proving the extent to which she was under his control. Three years later, he gave her permission to take a job as a maid at a local hotel. 

The turning point came in 1984 when Hooker told his wife Janice that he wanted to make Stan his second wife and bring in more female slaves.

She told Stan that Hooker wasn’t part of The Company and helped her to escape. Stan called Hooker from the bus stop and told him she was leaving him. He was said to have burst into tears.

Despite escaping his clutches she continued to call him and refused to report him to the police. She said she wanted to give him the chance to reform. 

Torture devices: Red Bluff Police Department Lt. Jerry Brown is pictured showing the head restraining devices found in Hooker's home in 1984

Torture devices: Red Bluff Police Department Lt. Jerry Brown is pictured showing the head restraining devices found in Hooker's home in 1984

Torture devices: Red Bluff Police Department Lt. Jerry Brown is pictured showing the head restraining devices found in Hooker’s home in 1984

Justice: Hooker was denied parole in 2015 and told he wouldn't get another hearing for at least 15 years. Stan said she was 'pleased with the results' at the time

Justice: Hooker was denied parole in 2015 and told he wouldn’t get another hearing for at least 15 years. Stan said she was ‘pleased with the results’ at the time

Once back home, Stan went to school for an accounting degree, married, and had a daughter. She also joined an organization to help abused women.

It was his wife Janice who finally went to the police and agreed to testify against him in exchange for immunity. Hooker, now 67, was handed a 104-year sentence in 1985 for the kidnap, torture, and rape of Stan. 

Superior Court Judge Clarence B. Knight called Hooker ‘the most dangerous psychopath I have ever encountered,’ the Los Angeles Times reported following his sentencing.  

Hooker, who is incarcerated in the California State Prison in Corcoran, was denied parole in 2015 and told he wouldn’t get another hearing for at least 15 years. 

‘The hearing went really well, and I’m really pleased with the results,’ Stan told KXTV after Hooker’s request for parole was refused. 

‘He didn’t show any remorse. Basically he’s wasted his life, 30 years in prison and hasn’t done anything to try to improve himself or change himself or figure out why he did this.’ 

‘I don’t know what his health issues are physically or mentally,’ she added. ‘But I don’t think he’s a feeble old man that couldn’t do this again.’



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