Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of the Seven-Year Sex Slave

Over the Border into Trouble

On the day she set out from Eugene, Colleen made good time, catching rides that took her pretty far along her way.  By afternoon, she had gotten 350 miles, to the town of Red Bluff.  She had less then one hundred miles to go.  She tried to evaluate each person who stopped to make sure they seemed safe, and had even turned down two potential rides when she did not feel right about them, so when a blue Dodge Colt stopped on the road with a man, woman and baby inside, Colleen was relieved.  They were young, clean-cut and friendly, so she got into the back seat.  "I was thanking my lucky stars," she said later.

The family, whose last name was Hooker, kept up an amiable conversation with her, but after a short time, Colleen noticed the driver, Cameron Hooker, staring at her through the rearview mirror.  It made her nervous."He was checking me out," she said later. When they stopped at a gas station about a half an hour into the drive Colleen went to use the restroom.  "A voice told me to run and jump out a window and never look back," she recalled, but she calmed her fears and went back to the car.  After all,   this man wouldn’t do anything to her in front of his wife and child, she reasoned. As she got in, they handed her a candy bar.

Cameron Hooker
Cameron Hooker

They drove for another mile or so until Cameron appeared to make up his mind about something.  The Hookers mentioned that they were very close to some spectacular ice caves and they wanted to make a quick stop.  Colleen didn't object, so Cameron drove down a dirt road that seemed to take them to the middle of nowhere and then stopped the car, turning the key to shut off the engine. His wife Janice, seeming to understand what was about to happen got out of the car holding the baby.  Suddenly Colleen found a knife pointed end against her throat, as Cameron ordered her to put her hands above her head and asked her if she was going to do whatever he said.  She froze in fear.  She didn't know what else to say except, "Yes."  Then he handcuffed, blindfolded, bound, and gagged her.

Now was the time for revealing his special creation.  He placed a large, metal-hinged box made out of plywood over Colleen’s head.  It was heavy and had dense insulation in between its double walls, and a neck hole that near choked her.  The interior was carpeted, which impeded her ability to breathe.  She was to learn that, wearing this, she could not eat, drink, hear, or see.  She was in total darkness.  She then felt Cameron cover her with something heavy that felt like the sleeping bag she'd carried with her.  When the car started up again, she assumed that Janice had gotten back inside.  She sensed them descending down a winding mountain road.

Gag restraint & head box
Gag restraint & head box (APWIDE)

They stopped to get dinner at a fast food place while Colleen waited to find out what they had planned for her.  She wondered if she would ever see her family or friends again.  Then she sensed the car moving for a while before it stopped altogether and Cameron removed her restraints and prodded her to get out.

Inside a house, he removed the box that he'd placed over her head.  That was a relief, but it proved to be short-lived.  Cameron led Colleen down some steps into a cellar.  He indicated that she was to stand on a Coleman ice chest.  Terrified of what he might do to her, she obeyed.   He told her to lift her hands over her head, which she did.  Then he used a leather strap to tie her wrists to the overhead pipes.  As he removed each item of her clothing, she felt him trembling.  She was still blindfolded, but she could sense that he was building up to something.  Uncomfortable as all of this was, it was nothing compared to what came next.

Cameron removed the chest that was supporting her weight, and she hung there, suspended in the air.  She kicked and screamed to be let loose.  "He told me to go ahead and scream," she said.  He led her to believe that in other such situations, he'd just cut the vocal chords of his captive and if she kept it up, he'd do the same to her.

To her astonishment, Cameron walked away and then returned.  He started to hit her with something that hurt, both front and back.  Colleen shrieked out for help, but that only made him hit her more.  She realized he was using a whip.  He then left her hanging, with her tiptoes just barely brushing something.  She could see beneath the blindfold that a pornographic magazine lay on the floor, featuring a naked woman hung up just as she was.

Yet he was not about to just leave her alone.  Cameron was so excited by his conquest and possession of a slave that he went out and soon returned with his wife.  They removed their clothes and had sex right there at Colleen's feet.  To her it was a nightmare.  She could not believe this was happening to her.  She'd never heard of people doing such things and she could not understand what she had done to deserve this treatment.

To her relief, Cameron did take her down from her hanging position.  Her arms were sore and her body hurt where he had beaten her.  He made her sit inside another locking box, and when he closed it, she discovered that she could not move.  Then he placed the head box back on her head.  She was now completely immobilized and barely able to breathe.  She began to scream, drawing her captor back.  He placed a strap over her chest that constricted her breathing even more, forcing her to stop making noise.  Then he left her like that for a very long and frightening night. She thought she was going to die.

Her simple wish that morning to surprise a friend had turned into the worst experience of her young life, and it had only just begun.

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