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Oregon Police Hunt Convicted Domestic Abuser Who Allegedly Imprisoned, Tortured New Woman
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, who has a history of violence against women, is on the run from law enforcement after they rescued a woman he had allegedly imprisoned and tortured for a "protracted period of time."
Authorities are scrambling to locate an Oregon man who’s wanted for the “brutal” assault of a woman he had allegedly held captive and tortured — just two years after being convicted of kidnapping in Nevada.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, is accused of “intentionally torturing” and holding an unidentified victim captive “in a place where she was not likely to be found,” prosecutors said following Tuesday's rescue, the Associated Press reported, citing court documents. Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman alleged at a Thursday press conference that Foster had subjected the victim to abuse for a "protracted amount of time," CNN reported.
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“I’m disgusted by what I know happened. This was an evil act,” Hensman said, the news network reported.
Police were dispatched to a property in Grants Pass shortly before 7:00 p.m. Jan. 24, after reports of an assault, the department said in a press release. At the residence, police discovered the female victim bound and “severely beaten into unconsciousness,” according to officials. She was transported to hospital in critical condition and, as of Thursday, was being guarded at the hospital, CNN reported.
“This is a very serious event, a brutal assault of one of our residents that we take extremely seriously,” Hensman said on Thursday, according to the AP. “And we will not rest until we capture this individual.”
In an interview with the New York Times on Friday, Grants Pass Police Lt. Jeff Hattersley said that they believe the woman was abducted at some point either late on Monday or on Tuesday. A friend, who became concerned after not hearing from her on Tuesday, Hattersley said, went by her home and "interrupted" the torture while it was in progress.
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Foster fled the scene in his car and the friend called the police. Foster is now wanted on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder and assault.
On Sunday, Hensmen told The Oregonian that Foster, a local bartender, and his 35-year-old victim had a "prior domestic relationship."
Police said in their initial press release that he is considered armed and extremely dangerous. On Thursday, they added that Foster is active on online dating apps and may be attempting to lure “unsuspecting” individuals to assist him in evading capture or as new victims.
“The Grants Pass Police Department wants the community to be extra safe while this predator is still at large and also advised that anyone assisting Ben Foster with his escape will face potential prosecution,” police stated last week.
A SWAT team executed a search warrant on Thursday evening at a home in Wolf Creek — about 20 miles north of Grants Pass, where Foster allegedly maintained his residence — to arrest Foster. However, he again managed to successfully avoid apprehension, despite a lengthy manhunt.
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Tina Marie Jones, 68 — who was at the residence where the warrant was served — was subsequently arrested for hindering prosecution. Hattersley said on Friday that "just from [Foster] living in the area, he had somehow gained a friendship with" Jones.
Court documents obtained by the AP allege that Jones followed Foster in her vehicle to a remote area in Wolf Creek early on Thursday and then watched as he drove his 2008 Nissan Sentra over an embankment. He then allegedly got in her car and she drove him to the property that police raided on Thursday evening.
Police said on Sunday that Foster may have since changed his appearance by shaving his beard and hair, and/or by dying his hair.
Investigators have been “flooded” with tips regarding potential sightings of Foster, however, as of Monday morning, the 36-year-old remains on the run.
"We are laser-focused on capturing this man and bringing him to justice," Hensman said on Thursday. "This is an all-hands-on-deck operation."
This is not Foster's first time facing charges for violence against women.
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In 2017, Foster was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with felony battery constituting domestic violence, according to CNN. His ex-girlfriend testified that he had attempted to strangle her on Christmas Eve after she received a text message from another man.
Hattersley told the Times that Foster was attending college at the time.
While awaiting trial in the first case, Foster was arrested and charged with felony assault, battery and kidnapping, according to the Associated Press and CNN. A different girlfriend told police that he had repeatedly strangled her to the point of unconsciousness and then bound her by the wrists and ankles, holding her captive for more than two weeks.
She ultimately escaped when she convinced Foster that they needed to go shopping for food and water, and then ran when he took their dog from the car to use the bathroom. She was taken to the hospital with seven broken ribs, two black eyes and other injuries from being bound by her wrists and ankles with duct tape and zip ties for two weeks.
Oxygen.com reported at the time that Foster had also shaved the woman's head and forced her to eat a sandwich filled with lye. She told police that "he was paranoid she was having him followed, and believed she had installed surveillance devices throughout their home, including in the microwave."
Foster made a deal in both cases with Clark County prosecutors in 2021, pleading guilty to one felony count of battery and one misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence. He was sentenced to up to 30 months in prison, but ultimately served less than 200 days post-conviction after having served 729 days during pretrial proceedings.
He returned to Oregon after his release.
“Am I troubled by what I know already? The answer is yes,” Hensman told CNN when asked about the previous charges in Nevada.
But, he said, authorities are currently focused on apprehending Foster in this case.
“Whatever happened in the past,” he told the AP last week, “we can talk about those situations later.”
A $2,500 reward has been issued for information leading to Foster's arrest. Anyone with additional information pertaining to his whereabouts is urged to contact the Grants Pass Police Tip-Line at 541-237-5607.
Oxygen.com has reached out to the Grants Pass Police Department for any updates in the open case.
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