‘Girl in the Box’ case: Redwood City hearing for alleged sexual predator is delayed

The Redwood City hearing to determine if Cameron Hooker is a sexually violent predator has been delayed again.

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The 70-year-old man convicted in the infamous “Girl in the Box” case is seeking to be released to a halfway house. If a jury accepts the prosecutors’ contention he is a sexually violent predator, he would instead be committed to a state hospital.

The hearing had been scheduled to start March 29; it is now set for Aug. 16 and is expected to last about two weeks. Tehama County District Attorney Matt Rogers said he doesn’t know the reason for the postponement.

Though Hooker’s conviction is for crimes committed mostly in Red Bluff, he was tried in San Mateo County, and the proceedings remain in that jurisdiction.

On May 19, 1977, Hooker and his wife, Janice, kidnapped 20-year-old hitchhiker Colleen Stan. They kept her for seven years as a sex slave in their Red Bluff home; during much of that time, she said, she was confined to a wooden box.

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Toward the end of her captivity, Stan was allowed more freedom, with Hooker relying on threats and brainwashing to ensure her compliance. On Aug. 10, 1984, she left and took a bus to her family’s home in Riverside. Three months later, a pastor who had been counseling Janice Hooker called the police, and Cameron Hooker was arrested.

In 1985, Hooker, then 32 years old, was convicted by a jury in Redwood City of kidnapping, rape, sodomy, oral copulation and rape with a foreign object. He was sentenced to 69 years in prison plus an indeterminate term of 6 to 35 years. Janice Hooker was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony.

In imposing the maximum sentence, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Clarence Knight called Hooker “the most dangerous psychopath I have ever encountered.”

At his last parole hearing, in 2015, Hooker’s request for parole was denied and his next eligibility hearing set for 2030.

It was after changes to state law reopened the possibility of his parole that Rogers began a letter-writing campaign to advocate that Hooker be declared a sexually violent predator, which would prevent his release.

Colleen Stan, now 67, has changed her name and reportedly still lives in California. She has spoken publicly about her ordeal, including on Oprah Winfrey’s show in 1987 and for the 2016 documentary “Colleen Stan: The Girl in the Box.”

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