Marie Spannhake Murder: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?

Image Credit: Oxygen

Teenager Marie Elizabeth Spannhake’s move to Chico, California, in 1975 was supposed to be the start of a new phase in life for her. But months later, she suddenly vanished after a tiff with her fiancé. Netflix’s ‘Unsolved Mysteries: The Ghost in Apartment 14′ goes back and forth in time, chronicling what happened to Marie and how the authorities believed she was the victim of a horrific torture-murder. So, if you’re curious to find out more, we’ve got you covered.

How Did Marie Elizabeth Spannhake Die?

Marie Elizabeth Spannhake AKA Marliz was originally from Cleveland, Ohio. She was part of a family of seven and was described as an outgoing and friendly person. Marie harbored dreams of becoming an actor, and when she got an opportunity to move to California, she readily took it. In 1975, Marie met John Baruth; they began dating, and he eventually asked her to move to California with him.

Image Credit: The Charley Project

The couple shifted base to Chico, California, in December 1975 and lived in a rented apartment over there. At the time, Marie had been working part-time as a model for a camera shop and was looking for full-time employment. On January 31, 1976, Marie and John headed to a flea market but argued sometime later. As a result, Marie, then 18, walked away, but she was never seen again. John, worried about her not coming home even a day later, reported her missing on February 2, 1976. While the authorities have never found her remains, they believe Marie was abducted and murdered.

Who Killed Marie Elizabeth Spannhake?

The authorities quickly learned that all of Marie’s belongings were still at home, so it appeared she possibly didn’t leave willingly. Initially, the police did look at John as a possible suspect in her disappearance. Marie had mentioned to her friends about being tired of the relationship, and as per the show, they were fighting a lot in the days prior. Marie’s mother also believed John was into drugs. However, he passed a polygraph test and was eventually ruled out.

The case went cold in the following years because no evidence could aid the police. Then, in November 1984, the authorities were led to a woman named Janice Hooker. She had a shocking and disturbing tale about her husband, Cameron Hooker, and the acts he committed. According to Janice, she and Cameron were shopping in Chico on January 31, 1976, when they saw a young girl walking around. Janice later claimed that the girl was Marie. She said they gave her a ride to her destination, but Cameron grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her back once the car stopped.

Janice accused Cameron of placing a wooden box over Marie’s head to muffle the sound, and they drove to their home in Red Bluff, California. There, Cameron allegedly hung Marie from the rafters in the basement using hooks. In a disturbing turn to the events, Janice alleged that Cameron took Marie to the bathroom later in the evening to cut off her vocal cords. Since he had no training, Marie began bleeding out. So, Janice claimed that Cameron took her back to the basement, hanging her naked. She also told the police that Cameron had shot Marie in the stomach with a pellet gun and strangled her.

Janice admitted to helping her then-husband allegedly move the body to the car, after which they drove toward Lassen Park in Northern California. They turned into a dirt road there, and Janice stated that Cameron dug a shallow grave before she helped him bury Marie’s body. The authorities were stunned at the admission and learned that Cameron had kidnapped another girl, Colleen Stan, in May 1977, keeping her captive and torturing her for seven years. Janice cooperated with the authorities and testified against Cameron, ultimately landing him in prison for what he did to Colleen.

However, without a body, the authorities couldn’t charge Cameron with what allegedly happened to Marie. Per the show, Janice provided the police with the location where she believed the 18-year-old was buried. However, no remains have been found yet. They were also approached by a psychic, Jodi Foster, who claimed to have visions of the alleged crime and the location of where Marie was possibly buried. But for now, Marie Elizabeth Spannhake’s case remains open.

Read More: Where is Cameron Hooker Now?