Suspect in Oregon torture case is using dating apps to find new victims, police warn




  • In US
  • 2023-01-28 20:38:51Z
  • By The Guardian
Photograph: Mark Graves/AP
Photograph: Mark Graves/AP  

Oregon police are currently on the hunt for a suspect who has been accused of torturing a woman, warning that he is currently using dating apps in attempts to find individuals who can assist him in avoiding authorities and securing more victims.

On Friday, Grants Pass police in south-west Oregon announced in a news release that they are searching for 36-year-old Benjamin Obadiah Foster who is wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping and assault. The manhunt for Foster follows the discovery by Grants Pass police officers on Tuesday of a female victim found at a residence, bound, severely beaten and unconscious. The victim was hospitalized in critical condition.

The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived but "was positively identified as Benjamin Obadiah Foster of Wolf Creek," police said. Less than two years ago, Foster had been convicted in Nevada of capturing another woman and detaining her for weeks.

Prior to moving to Oregon, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks in 2019, the Associated Press reports. According to a Las Vegas police report reviewed by the outlet, the woman suffered seven broken ribs, two black eyes and injuries from being bound at the wrist and ankles with zip ties and duct tape.

In addition, the woman told police that she was forced to eat lye and was choked to the point of unconsciousness. She was eventually able to escape Foster during a trip to the grocery store and gas station.

Foster was charged with multiple felonies, including assault and battery, and faced decades in prison upon conviction. However, Foster accepted a plea deal in August 2021 that allowed him to plead guilty to one felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence.

He was sentenced to two and a half years. However, because the 729 days he spent in jail while awaiting trial was included in his punishment, Foster had less than 200 days to serve in state custody, the Associated Press reports.

In a statement to the outlet, Grants Pass police chief Warren Hensman said that he found it "extremely troubling" that Foster is currently wanted for attempted murder rather than in jail for his previous crimes.

"We are laser-focused on capturing this man and bringing him to justice," Hensman told reporters on Thursday, adding, "This is an all-hands-on-deck operation."

Joshua Eastman, Josephine county district attorney, wrote in a court document reviewed by the Associated Press that Foster had attempted to kill the victim found in Grants Pass while "intentionally torturing her" and concealing her "in a place where she was not likely to be found".

On Thursday evening, Grants Pass police, Oregon state police SWAT team, sheriff's deputies and federal agents searched a property in Wolf Creek, a community that is a few miles north of Grants Pass. Foster "evaded capture and likely received assistance in fleeing the area," said police.

Nevertheless, they seized numerous pieces of evidence, including Foster's 2008 Nissan Sentra. Additionally, authorities arrested a 68-year old woman for hindering prosecution.

According to court documents reviewed by the Associated Press, the woman, Tina Marie Jones, followed Foster into a vehicle earlier on Thursday. Foster then proceeded to drive his Nissan Sentra over an embankment. The woman then gave Foster a ride to the property that was searched by police on Thursday night.

Foster has been warned to be "actively using online dating applications to contact unsuspecting individuals who may be lured into assisting with the suspect's escape or potentially as additional victims", police said.

As police continue to search for Foster, they have put up a $2,500 reward for anybody who may lead authorities to Foster's arrest and prosecution.

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