The Tragic Story Behind Oxygen's Snapped Notorious: Girl In The Box

In May of 1977, Colleen Stan began a journey from her home in Eugene, Oregon to Northern California to attend a birthday party for a friend of hers. Instead of traveling by plane or rail, Stan decided to hitchhike her way to her friend's house (via A&E). After turning down a lift from a group of men in a car, Stan thumbed down a blue van (via Crime + Investigation) being driven by a young couple with a baby. Cameron and Janice Hooker picked up the 20-year-old Stan and within a half hour's time, Colleen Stan found herself kidnapped and in more trouble than she could've imagined (via Daily Mail).

After about 30 minutes on the road with the hitchhiker, Cameron Hooker pulled the car over onto a dirt road, drew a knife and pressed it hard against Colleen Stan's throat. After tying her up and gagging her, Cameron put a wooden box over Stan's head and stuffed her into the back of the van. Called the "head box," the device he constructed weighed 20 pounds and was lined with sound proof materials. Driving her back to their place in Red Bluff, California, Cameron proceeded to strip Stan of her clothes and suspend her naked by her wrists in the couple's basement.

Tortured and abused

According to A&E, Stan was whipped that night, while forced to endure the couple having sex in front of her. In a 2008 interview with Closer, Stan described her first night in the Red Bluff torture house. "I was terrified. Janice watched as Cameron tortured me and then they had sex in front of me. I was convinced they were going to kill me. I was tied up and put into a wooden box measuring 3ft x 6ft for the rest of the night."

In an odd move, Stan was made to sign a master-slave contract by Cameron. Little did Stan know, that over the next seven years she would be locked into a small wooden box that the Hookers kept under their bed. Stan would only be let out of the makeshift coffin to be beaten, raped, or made to do household work. According to The Sun, Stan was regularly abused, tortured in medieval ways, and even at times electrocuted.

The Company

To keep her in line, Cameron Hooker convinced Stan that he was part of an organized crime family called "The Company." According to Closer, Cameron continued to threaten Stan with the imaginary mafia organization he dreamed up, telling her she would be nailed to a cross if she ever tried to escape or made any type of contact with the outside world. Stan's family was threatened as well with the Company's overarching authority. According to Colleen, Cameron told her, "If you don't do as I say, I'll have people go hurt your family" (via The Sun). The abuse was so bad that at one point, the Hookers made Colleen dig a shallow hole, where they forced her to stay. After about a week, the hole had filled up with water. Reluctantly, Janice Hooker removed Stan from the hole and locked her back up in the box under their bed (via Find Law).

Janice Hooker also participated in the psychological warfare against Colleen Stan. Stan revealed Janice threatened her regularly, too. "His wife told me if you step outside the door without permission from us, you might as well put a shotgun to your head and pull the trigger."

A living hell

According to Closer, Stan spent the next seven years being tortured. The Hookers (pictured above) kept Stan in a locked box for 23 hours a day, only allowing Colleen to leave the box to be abused or raped. "I was stretched on racks, electrocuted, whipped until I bled and tied up by my wrists and left to hang for hours on end," Stan related to Closer. When she wasn't being abused, she was fed one meager meal a day consisting of a sandwich or potatoes and had no access to a bathroom. The Hookers only supplied their victim with a bedpan.

Initially, Stan was kept shackled up in the Hookers' basement. Suspended from the rafters, Colleen was regularly whipped and beaten. In between torture sessions, Cameron kept her locked up in the makeshift coffin he assembled. In 1978, the Hookers had to move to a mobile home. With no basement at his disposal, Cameron custom-built a platform bed, so he could keep Stan locked up in the coffin under their bed (via Find Law).

A small taste of freedom

Over time, however, Cameron Hooker began letting Stan have a bit more freedom. In 1981, three years after being abducted, Hooker allowed Colleen Stan to visit her family (via LAD Bible). So convinced was she of Cameron and his imaginary mafia organization's power, she didn't say a word to her parents about where she was during the past three years (via Closer).

According to Find Law, by 1979 Cameron was allowing Stan to leave the torture box to clean and make dinner. By June of 1980, Stan had earned herself enough freedom to sleep in the back bathroom of the Hookers' house, shackled to the toilet. By 1983, Stan was permitted to work. In May of that year, Colleen Stan got a job as a maid at a local motel. According to LAD Bible, Cameron informed Stan that he planned on making her his second wife. This declaration was the final straw for Janice Hooker, who while taking part in the torture of Stan, was also becoming increasingly jealous of her as well. Janice, who married Cameron Hooker in 1975, only agreed to allow Cameron to have a slave he could torture, if he agreed to have sex with just her, not the slave (via A&E). Initially, Cameron agreed. However, as time progressed, Cameron began sexually assaulting Stan more and more. In his mind, he was preparing to make Stan his second wife.

Justice at last

Claiming Colleen Stan to be his "slave wife" (via Find Law), Hooker began having intercourse with both women by 1984. Neither woman was happy with the arrangement. On August 9, 1984, Janice and Colleen Stan paid a visit to a local pastor. After spilling her guts to the pastor, he suggested both women leave Cameron Hooker. The following day, Janice and Colleen took Janice's children to Janice's parents' house. Janice proceeded to tell Stan "the Company" wasn't real and that all the threats were just that: threats. Colleen Stan left on her own accord.

A few months later, Cameron Hooker was arrested and charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and several sex offenses. Janice Hooker was granted immunity in exchange for testifying against him, says The Sun. In 1985, he was sentenced to 104 years in prison (via Record Searchlight). Colleen Stan, who recently changed her last name, talked to People Magazine in 2016 about how she survived the experience. "I learned I could go anywhere in my mind. 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."

A documentary about the case titled "Snapped Notorious: The Girl in the Box" begins streaming July 17 on Oxygen.