Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of the Seven-Year Sex Slave

Behind Closed Doors



In the quiet town of Red Bluff, California, Cameron and Janice Hooker did not stand out.  They came and went like anyone else, buying supplies but generally keeping to themselves.  At his job at a local lumber mill, Cameron was considered dependable.  In 1976, they had rented a home on 1140 Oak Street from an elderly couple, Mr. And Mrs. Leddy, who lived next door and who noted that the Hookers seemed to be quiet types, just another young couple starting a family.  They knew nothing about the couple’s background. Cameron was better at working with his hands than making friends.  He'd graduated from Red Bluff High School four years earlier and found work at Diamond Lands Corporation..  The following year, in 1973, he met 15-year-old Janice, an epileptic.  Cameron spotted how malleable she might be, given how easily she yielded to whatever he asked, just to have some attention.  She'd clearly take a man at any cost.

Cameron, hooked on violent pornography, persuaded Janice to allow him to undress her and tie her to a tree, suspended by her wrists.   It wasn't comfortable, but his affection afterward was its own reward.  Their kinky sexual acts became routine and by 1975, they were married.  That's when Cameron really felt safe to do whatever he pleased.  Janice belonged to him, so he made her more of a partner in his sexual fantasies.

Roy Hazelwood
Roy Hazelwood

A study of 20 female accomplices of sexual sadists conducted by Roy Hazelwood and Ann Burgess—actually prompted by Colleen Stan’s experience—indicated that the male's fantasy life often gradually becomes a shared pre-occupation.  Whatever he wants motivates both partners.  As the male progressively isolates the female, she becomes more dependent on him and less able to speak up for herself.

"It is important to understand," Hazelwood writes, "that the ritualistic and heterosexual sadist inherently believes that all women are evil…consequently, if and when these men set out to prove this hypothesis…they select nice, middle-class women who are apparently normal."  They use a process that exploited the woman's vulnerability to turn her into a compliant accomplice.

That seemed to be the dynamic at play in the Hookers' relationship.  Cameron led the dance, and Janice submitted.   If she didn't, he threatened her life, and she believed he might act on his threats.

Yet such men typically tire of this submissiveness and start looking for someone more exciting.  Cameron wanted a young female slave, and he needed Janice to assist him in acquiring one.  Since the female half of such couples fears losing the man's love if she does not go along, and since she also spots an opportunity to diminish her burden of abuse by having his attentions on someone else, she often agrees to the arrangement.  All Janice asked for was a baby, and Cameron could then go do whatever he wanted.  He accepted the deal and began to ponder the future.

He had to do some preparation.  He needed a way to contain this slave and to prevent neighbors from hearing her cries until she learned her place.  With his fantasies in motion, he designed and made the boxes he would soon use on Colleen Stan.  Janice got pregnant, had a baby, and began to raise it.  As months went by, it might have appeared that Cameron may have forgotten his goal, but he hadn't.  Not at all.  When the time was right and everything was ready, he used Janice to help him establish the appearance of safety, and went trolling for the first of what he hoped would become a string of female sex slaves. 

 

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