Benjamin Foster is looking for victims on dating apps, Oregon police say : NPR

An undated handout photo provided by Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster, wanted by authorities for attempted murder, kidnapping and assault.


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A man accused of kidnapping and assaulting a woman in Oregon – years after he was accused of holding another woman captive in Nevada – remains both on the run and active on dating apps, according to authorities.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, is considered an “extremely dangerous suspect” and is wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to the police department in Grants Pass, a town of about 40,000 in the southwestern Oregon.

Police have been pursuing Foster since Tuesday, when they responded to a call about an assault at a residence and found a woman who had been “bound and severely beaten unconscious.” She was hospitalized in critical condition.

The suspect, who they say was identified as Foster, fled the scene before officers arrived, sparking a manhunt that led authorities to the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek on Thursday for a raid which proved unsuccessful. They say Foster “escaped capture and likely received help to flee the area”, although they seized his car and other evidence, and arrested a 68-year-old woman for “obstructing the prosecution”.

Police have set up a tip line and are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to Foster’s arrest and prosecution. And they warn he could seek out other victims or help evade authorities, including posing as a potential suitor.

“The investigation revealed that the suspect is actively using online dating apps to contact unsuspecting individuals who may be brought in to assist in the suspect’s escape or potentially as additional victims,” ​​the department said, calling to caution and warning that anyone who helps Foster with his escape could face prosecution.

Police said Sunday that Foster may try to change his appearance by shaving his beard and hair or changing his hair color, and urge the public to pay attention to his facial structure and blue eyes “since these traits are very difficult to change”. They’ve shared several photos of him with different head lengths and facial hair, and plan to post more as they become available.

Dating apps say they are also looking for Foster

The companies behind several popular dating apps told NPR they are looking for accounts with Foster’s name, but have yet to find any.

A spokesperson for Match Group, which owns Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, Match and Plenty of Fish, said in an email Monday afternoon that it had no information to confirm Foster was on his platforms, but continued to examine it.

Bumble told NPR via email that its team is “working around the clock to identify all members based on the information we currently have,” and did not locate anyone on the app with Foster’s full name. .

“Whenever we become aware of a report in the media, we work proactively to identify if the member is part of our community and take prompt action against their account,” he added.

Most dating apps don’t do criminal background checks. At the end of last year, four Match Group sites – Tinder, Match, Plenty of Fish and single parent dating app Stir – let users perform background checks using the Garbo platform, provided that they have at least the first name and the telephone number of their partner.

Match Group says it plans to continue rolling out this feature to other brands in the United States. It also touts security features including photo verification, anti-harassment prompts, and its user reporting process.

Anti-sexual assault nonprofit RAINN offers safety tips for anyone using dating apps to hook up online or meet in person. They include: researching your potential date on social media, blocking and reporting users for suspicious behavior, not responding to requests for financial assistance, choosing a public place for your first meeting, and not relying on your date you for transportation.

Foster held his then-girlfriend captive in his Las Vegas apartment years earlier

Details about Foster’s case and criminal record have begun to emerge in recent days.

Citing statements from prosecutors in court records, The Oregonian reported that Foster attempted to kill the Grants Pass victim while “intentionally torturing” her and confining her “in a place where she was unlikely to be found”. A fundraiser for the woman, who has not been publicly identified, said she was 35 and suffered serious facial and neck injuries, he added.

Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told a press conference last week that she had been detained for an “extended period”. The victim and suspect had a “prior domestic relationship,” Hensman said, according to The Oregonian.

In 2019, before moving to Oregon, he held his then-girlfriend captive in his Las Vegas apartment for two weeks, reports the Associated Press – while he was sentenced to prison with suspended for carrying a concealed weapon without a license and awaiting trial in a 2018 domestic violence case.

Citing a police report, it says the Las Vegas woman suffered seven broken ribs, two black eyes and injuries from being tied around her wrists and ankles with zip ties and duct tape. She told police that Foster also forced her to eat the chemical washing powder, choked her unconscious, shaved her head and demanded that her hands “stay in constant contact” with her body when she was not tied up.

She managed to escape from Foster after he persuaded him to take her and his dog to a grocery store and gas station, allegedly sprinted into a store and a nearby apartment complex while he was distracted letting the dog out of the car.

Foster was initially charged with five felonies, but in August 2021 he reached a deal with Clark County prosecutors that left him pleading guilty to a single count of battery and one misdemeanor count. assault and battery constituting domestic violence.

He went from decades in prison to a 2.5 year sentence, which included the 792 days he had spent in jail awaiting trial.

Hensman stressed at the press conference that law enforcement is focused on finding Foster and bringing him to justice, calling it a “laser-focused” operation and “everyone on deck.” . He said there will be time to review what happened during and after Foster’s stay in Nevada afterwards.


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