Suspect in Oregon torture case uses dating apps to find victims
A man suspected of torturing a woman and holding her captive in Oregon is using dating apps to target new victims or entice individuals to help him evade police, authorities said Friday.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, is the subject of an intensive 24-hour search by police after a woman was found tied up and “severely beaten into unconsciousness” on January 24 in Grants Pass, Oregon. She was hospitalized in critical condition.
On Thursday, Grants Pass police, county officers, an Oregon State Police SWAT team and assistant federal agents launched a manhunt and raided a property in Wolf Creek – an unincorporated community about 20 miles north of Grants Pass – in an effort to arrest Foster for attempted murder.
“After a lengthy manhunt, Foster eluded capture and was likely assisted in fleeing the area,” Grants Pass police said on Friday.
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During the search, authorities seized Foster’s car and arrested a 68-year-old woman, identified as Tina Marie Jones, for obstructing the prosecution.
According to court documents, Foster had driven to a remote location in Wolf Creek and intentionally drove his vehicle down an embankment. Jones then led Foster to the property that was raided Thursday where Foster had been hiding.
Authorities said Foster “actively used online dating apps to contact unsuspecting individuals who may be brought in to assist in the suspect’s escape or potentially as additional victims.”
Grants Pass Police advised people to be ‘safer while this predator is still at large’ and warned that those who help Foster escape will face potential prosecution.
Police offered a $2,500 reward on Friday for information leading to Foster’s arrest and prosecution.
Authorities said in an update Sunday that Foster was wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping and assault. They also think that Foster might try to change his appearance and that he is known to be armed, which makes him “extremely dangerous”.
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Foster was also convicted of holding a woman captive in Nevada.
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told The Associated Press last week that it was ‘extremely disturbing’ that Foster was out and able to prey on other women instead of being still behind bars for Nevada crimes.
Foster was originally charged with five felonies and decades in prison after he was arrested for holding his then-girlfriend captive in his Las Vegas apartment for two weeks in 2019, according to AP.
But in 2021, Foster was able to reach a settlement with local prosecutors and plead guilty to one count of battery and one misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence, AP reported. Foster was sentenced to up to 2½ years in a Nevada prison.
According to court records, Foster was out of custody at the time and given a suspended prison sentence for carrying a concealed weapon without a license.
He was also awaiting trial in another 2018 case involving domestic violence, according to court records. But Foster’s plea deal with prosecutors in 2021 settled the domestic violence case, according to a copy of the agreement, and he was “sentenced credit for time served.”
Contribute: The Associated Press