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Harrowing True Story Of Woman Locked In A Box For Seven Years

This is the harrowing true story of 'the girl in the box' and how she endured seven years of captivity.
Credit: Channel Five

A woman was kept in a box for seven years and the harrowing true story has left the internet horrified. 

A 20-year-old, from Eugene, Oregon, was hitchhiking to visit a friend in 1977.

When a blue van stopped, the young woman got in – a man drove the vehicle, his wife was in the passenger seat and a baby was in the backseat.

She deemed the young family to be a safe option, however, she was wrong.

This is the chilling true story of how Colleen Stan became known as ‘the girl in the box.’

Colleen Stan
Colleen Stan became known as ‘the girl in the box.’ Credit: Family Handout

People have been left horrified by Colleen’s story, with one writing: “Just imagine. A huge chunk of your young adulthood… gone. Some of the best years of her life were taken from her. This is so sad.”

Another adds: “Wow. I wish nothing but good things in the future for this woman who had to endure such torture.”

A third person pens: “I feel so bad for her. I can’t even imagine how horrible it was, and it lasted for seven years!”

What a strong person. There’s not enough that can be said about her strength,” somebody else says. 

Colleen Stan
People are commending Colleen Stan after hearing what she endured. Credit: Channel Five

Colleen had been taken by 23-year-old Cameron Hooker and his 19-year-old wife Janice Hooker, who was complicit in his plan.

The Hookers had been searching for a hitchhiker to abduct, as Cameron harbored intense bondage fantasies which had previously only been inflicted on Janice.

Shortly after Colleen entered the van, Cameron veered off course into a remote area and threatened her with a knife, forcing her into a 20-pound ‘head box’ that restricted her senses and airflow.

The vehicle eventually arrived at the Hookers’ home, where Colleen was taken to a cellar and subjected to brutal torture.

Bound and suspended by her wrists, she was beaten, electrocuted, whipped, and burned.

Colleen Stan box.
Colleen Stan spent seven years of her life in a box. Credit: Channel Five

Colleen was confined in a coffin-like box under the couple’s bed for up to 23 hours a day.

In an Oxygen TV interview, she said: “I don’t know how to explain what total darkness does to a human soul.”

Initially, Janice would not allow Cameron to s**ually assault Colleen. Instead, she was forced to watch as he and his wife had s** after torturing her.

Eventually, this agreement was abandoned, and Cameron began to r*** Colleen as part of the abuse.

Colleen Stan and Cameron Hooker.
Cameron Hooker wanted Colleen Stan to be his second wife. Credit: Channel Five

Later, in her book ‘Colleen Stan: The Simple Gifts of Life’, she wrote: “Anytime I was taken out of the box, I never knew what to expect. Fear of the unknown was always with me as I was kept in the dark both physically and mentally.”

Despite regular beatings and r***, the woman’s greatest fear stemmed from Cameron’s claim that he belonged to a powerful, satanic organization called ‘The Company’ – he told Colleen it monitored and threatened her family’s safety.

Terrified that an escape attempt would bring harm to her loved ones, Colleen signed a contract declaring herself a slave and remained compliant to avoid punishment.

Her obedience gradually earned her more freedom, such as gardening, jogging, and visits to her family.

Cameron accompanied her on these visits, posing as her boyfriend.

Despite a happy facade captured in photographs, Colleen’s family suspected she was in a cult due to her distant behavior and lack of money – yet they feared pressuring her would cause her to vanish.

Cameron Hooker
Cameron Hooker remains in prison to this day. Credit: Channel Five

Colleen endured seven years of captivity from 1977 to 1984.

As Cameron expressed his desire to take Colleen as a second wife, Janice, who had also been manipulated and abused by him, began to break down.

She confided in Colleen that ‘The Company’ was a lie and helped her escape.

Initially, Janice asked Colleen to keep quiet, believing Cameron could be rehabilitated. However, she eventually reported him to the police.

Cameron was arrested and charged with s**ual assault and kidnapping.

At his trial, Janice testified against him in exchange for full immunity.

Cameron was convicted and sentenced to 104 years in prison. Denied parole in 2015, he will be eligible for another hearing in 2030, as per MailOnline.

After Cameron’s parole request was denied, Colleen told KXTV (via USA Today): “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.”

Colleen Stan
Colleen Stan’s ordeal has been described as ‘unparalleled in FBI history.’ Credit: Oxygen

Colleen’s ordeal has been described as ‘unparalleled in FBI history,’ as per All Things Interesting.

She suffered chronic pain from her years of confinement and underwent extensive therapy upon returning home, Crime + Investigation reports.

She later married, had a daughter, earned a degree in accounting, and joined an organization supporting abused women.

In an interview with People magazine, Colleen explained how she kept her sanity during the seven-year ordeal.

“I learned I could go anywhere in my mind,” she told the publication. “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.”

Colleen has changed her name and reportedly still lives in California.

A Lifetime movie on Colleen’s ordeal, titled The Girl In The Box, is available to stream through Prime Video.

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.