Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of the Seven-Year Sex Slave

Time to Leave

Her year of semi-free existence was over.  Cameron put her back inside the box, and that's where she stayed most of the time for the next three years.  Once she managed to kick open the bolted door, but grew afraid of what might happen to her, so she told Cameron what she had done.  He fixed the damage without punishing her and forced her back inside.

Her physical condition declined.  Her hair fell out and she lost more weight.

As nice as it was for Cameron to have Colleen, he apparently wasn't satisfied.  He talked about wanting more slaves, which meant he would need more space.  He decided to build a dungeon, and he had Colleen help to dig a deep hole for it in the yard.  He put in a floor and built brick walls, finishing it in November of 1983.  He moved her into it, but when it flooded, Cameron saw how impractical it was and once again he put Colleen back in her box.

Yet there was a growing threat to which Cameron was blind.  Janice disliked the fact that her husband was having regular sex with Colleen.  To quiet her anger, she read the Bible.  Soon she was reading it quite regularly.  She began to feel increasingly more ashamed over what was going on in her home.

Colleen turned 27.  To her mind, this was now her life.  She'd been with the Hookers for seven years, with no end in sight.  She began to receive small liberties again, and was even allowed to have an outside job working at the King’s Lodge Motel.  She was told the extra money would be spent on buying her a small house near the Hookers, which would be for her.

Janice Hooker
Janice Hooker (APWIDE)

Janice began attending a local Nazarene church, and Colleen sometimes went with her.  Cameron, too, was biblically inspired, but only to emphasize his ownership of them both.   He would say that this arrangement was what God wanted, including the sexual acts he had started to command between them.  They couldn't help but think of the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar from Genesis.

Nevertheless, Janice knew that the situation was morally wrong, so she went to Pastor Frank Dabney and other members of her church for advice.  Instead of revealing the full story, however, she framed it as a love triangle.  They all let her know that God would not approve.  That admonition began to work on her and she finally formed a plan.

On August 9, 1984, Janice picked up Colleen at the King’s Lodge.  She told her that there was no company and no slavery contract—it was all lies.  Colleen listened to this and realized that nothing now bound her to Cameron.  She abruptly quit her job and left with Janice.  She stayed one more night, asking Cameron to allow her and Janice to sleep alone.  He complied.  They used the time to plan Colleen's escape, to be effected the following day while Cameron was at work.

Colleen called her father in Riverside to ask for money to buy a ticket to come home.  He wired it immediately.  With ticket in hand, she then called Cameron from the bus station.  She told him she knew he had been lying all along and she was leaving.  Cameron cried, but Colleen was not to be deterred.  She walked away from seven years of forced captivity to try to find her life again.

"I got on the bus and I left."

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