Cameron Hooker was born in Alturas, California on November 5th, 1953. He grew to be a shy, introverted boy. Tall, thin, geeky and bespectacled, he had no genuine friends and took refuge in his intense imagination. By the time he'd left school and begun working in a local lumbermill, his only reading matter was pornography - the kind which portrayed bound women being tortured. Over time his fantasies took on a single theme; in them he flogged nude women who were pinioned with leather straps. When he was nineteen, he met a shy fifteen-year-old named Janice.

The girl was not good looking and she suffered from low self-esteem; Cameron found her easy to acquire. In fact, she was grateful to be asked out by such an apparently polite youth - a fellow who drove his own car and showed her respect. Other boys ignored her or gave her a hard time; in fact, she had a history of doting on young men who treated her with contempt - it seems that the worse they behaved towards her, the more she adored them. Hooker allowed her to become attached to him; then one day he told her that he wanted to take her into the woods, suspend her from a tree and beat her. Janice was shocked and afraid of being hurt, but she was more afraid of losing Cameron. Though he did hurt her and she particularly disliked the agony of being hung by her wrists, he was so grateful and loving when he took her down that she complied with all of his desires.

They were married in 1975 and in their rented home in Red Bluff, she continued to submit to Hooker’s twisted needs. In fact, his drive to restrain and hurt her became steadily greater. Often he’d put a rubber gas mask over her head - its eye-pieces were painted over and Janice was thus deprived of sight whilst he abused her. She was terrified of the gas mask and when he added choking her into unconsciousness to his routines, Janice decided that she wanted to be excused from her husband’s most extreme and painful acts.

She’d known for a long time about Cameron’s dream of kidnapping a girl and using her as his slave. She later explained that she wanted a baby and longed to live a ‘normal’ life; if he had a slave - a girl who could not say ‘no’ - he would stop wanting to whip and throttle her. She agreed to help to him abduct a girl that he could use as his pain-slave. The only condition she made was that Cameron was not to have sex with his captive - he could hurt her as much as he liked, but there was to be no intercourse.

Many writers about this case go to great lengths to excuse Janice for her part in the events which then took place. They dutifully reprint statements she has made about how ‘sickened’ and ‘guilty’ she felt. However, the undeniable truth is that she was a willing accomplice; she made the crimes possible, she played a vital part in luring Hooker’s victims and despite providing self-serving accounts (which portrayed her dashing off in distress to vomit when her husband was busy with rape or torture), Janice Hooker plainly enjoyed (and was sexually aroused by) the limitless power they had over their victims.

In my opinion, Janice Hooker was just as guilty (and worthy of punishment) as Myra Hindley - one of the ‘Moors Murderers’ - whose case has many parallels with her own. Hindley took a full and enthusiastic part in the sexual abuse, sadistic punishment and murder of children; like Janice, she was instrumental in gaining the victims’ trust before they were snatched; like Janice, she laid the blame for everything on her partner.

In January 1976, the Hookers offered a ride to an eighteen years old girl in the nearby town of Chico - Janice later remembered her name as ‘Marliz Spannhake’ when informing the Police. Instead of going to her apartment, Cameron drove to a lonely spot. The girl was tied up, her cries were silenced by a strap that went over her jaw, her head was locked in box that Cameron had specially made for the purpose.

Once taken back to the Hooker home, she was stripped naked and hung by her wrists from the ceiling. Cameron beat her and attempted to make her take this punishment without screaming or even crying in pain. The girl could not or would not conform to this order. Hooker had spent most of his life dreaming about this moment; but his treasured fantasy began to fall apart on its first contact with reality. The more he hurt his victim, the more noise she made; perhaps she didn’t understand what he wanted or maybe she was determined to resist at all costs. Either way, he became so angry that he resorted to cutting her vocal chords (Janice claimed that he’d mentioned the possibility of having a ‘Silent Slave’).

In the end, deeming the girl uncontrollable, he decided she had to die and shot her repeatedly in the belly with a pellet gun. When that weapon failed to take her life, Hooker strangled her. In the early hours of the next morning, the Hookers drove into the mountains, and buried ‘Marliz Spannhake’ in a shallow grave. Although the police were later able to verify that a girl named ‘Maric Elizabeth Spannhake’ had vanished one evening in January 1976 they were unable to locate the grave - even though Janice went with them to aid their search. Consequently, there was not enough evidence to charge Cameron Hooker with murder.






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