Crime and Safety

Oregon torture suspect uses dating apps to lure new victims, police warn

Oregon State Police have warned the public that an attempted murder suspect accused of capturing a woman is using dating apps to lure new victims.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, who is under a multi-agent manhunt, may also be using the apps to recruit others to help him avoid arrest, the Grants Pass Police Department said Friday.

The search for Foster, who was convicted in Nevada for holding another woman in captivity, began after he allegedly tied up and severely beat a woman unconscious near Grants Pass, Oregon, on Tuesday, police said.

On Thursday, Grants Pass police, sheriff’s deputies, an Oregon State Police SWAT team and federal agents raided property in the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek – about 20 miles from Grants Pass – where they believed Foster was hiding. Foster’s car and other evidence were seized, police said.

Police say after a “protracted manhunt” Foster, 36, escaped arrest with the help of Tina Marie Jones, 68, of Wolf Creek, who was arrested and charged with obstruction of prosecution. It is unclear exactly how he escaped, but the area is heavily forested.

According to court documents, Jones followed Foster in a car earlier Thursday as he drove to a remote location in Wolf Creek and then deliberately drove his 2008 Nissan Sentra over an embankment.

Investigators have discovered that the convicted felon used online dating apps to lure unsuspecting people to help him escape or possibly as additional victims.

“The Grants Pass Police Department wants the public to be extra safe while this predator is still at large, and also advises that anyone assisting Ben Foster with his escape could face potential prosecution,” the statement said. department.

Police in Grants Pass, a city of about 40,000 in southwestern Oregon, said Foster was considered armed and “extremely dangerous.” Officials said they were using all available technology to find him.

Foster is wanted by the police for kidnapping, attempted murder and assault. The police offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to his arrest and prosecution.

In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster was convicted in Nevada for holding his girlfriend captive in her own apartment for over two weeks, where he threatened to kill her and forced her to eat a lye sandwich because he was convinced that she pursues him. .

Foster, who law enforcement officials say is a trained martial artist, allegedly used zip ties and duct tape to bind the woman at her wrists and ankles, shaved her head, and beat and choked her until she passed out. According to officials, he threatened to kill her with a knife and a gun.

At one point, Foster forced the woman to eat a sandwich filled with lye — a potent cleaning chemical — that burned her hands and throat, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Foster also allegedly interfered with the woman’s use of the bathroom and would only untie her at night. However, he held her while they slept, she told police. The woman managed to escape after she convinced Foster that the couple needed food and water. He took her to a gas station with him, where she escaped and found help.

He was initially charged with five felony offenses, including assault and battery, and faced several decades in prison. However, in August 2021, Foster entered into a plea deal with the Clark County Attorney’s Office that allowed him to plead guilty to one count of felony battery and one count of misdemeanor offense of domestic violence. .

He served two and a half years in a Nevada prison, but the 729 days spent on remand were used for his sentencing, and he ultimately served less than 200 days.

At the time of his arrest in 2019, Foster was released from a suspended prison sentence due to a 2018 gun possession conviction and was awaiting trial in another domestic violence case.

Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told the AP he didn’t have time to criticize how Nevada handled Foster’s prosecution.

“Whatever happened in the past,” he said, “we can talk about these situations later.”

With mail wires

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