Benjamin Obadiah Foster, suspect in kidnapping of Oregon woman, may have used dating apps to avoid police
Authorities in southwestern Oregon are warning that a man suspected of kidnapping a woman and beating her unconscious may now be using dating apps to avoid capture or find potential new victims, according to police.
The suspect, 36-year-old Benjamin Obadiah Foster, has so far eluded capture but appears to be active in online dating services. Grants Pass Police Department it said in a statement on Friday.
“The investigation revealed that the suspect was actively using online dating apps to connect with unsuspecting individuals who could be recruited to assist in the suspect’s escape or potentially as additional victims,” Grants Pass police said.
The search for Foster began Tuesday after officers found a woman who had been bound and severely beaten until she was unconscious, Grant Pass police said. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition and is being guarded while the suspect remains at large, police said.
The man fled the scene before officers arrived, but investigators identified Foster as the suspect and asked members of the public to call 911 immediately if they see him, attention he “must be considered extremely dangerous.”
Police said Foster “likely received assistance in fleeing the area.” A 68-year-old woman was arrested “for hindering prosecution” while authorities searched for the suspect, according to the department.
While the search continues, a $2,500 reward has been offered for information leading to Foster’s capture. Police said he was wanted on suspicion of kidnapping, attempted murder and assault.
Prosecutors accused Foster of trying to kill the victim “in the course of deliberately torturing” the woman, according to charging documents filed in court and obtained by CNN affiliate KDRV.
“This is a very serious crime — a brutal attack on one of our residents — that we take extremely seriously, and we will not rest until we catch this person,” Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said at a news conference Thursday.
This isn’t Foster’s first time charged by the authorities of violence against women.
Court records in Clark County, Nevada show Foster was charged in two separate cases years earlier, accusing him of assaulting women.
In the first case, Foster was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, court documents show. Foster’s ex-girlfriend testified in a preliminary hearing that he tried to strangle her in a rage in 2017 after another man texted her.
While this case was still pending in court, Foster was charged with aggravated assault, battery and kidnapping for allegedly assaulting another woman — his girlfriend at the time — in 2019, charging documents show.
The victim told police that “Foster choked[her]until she was unconscious several times” and kept her tied up for the better part of the next two weeks. She said she was able to gain her freedom only after she convinced Foster they needed to shop for supplies and escaped while inside a store, according to court records.
The woman was left with seven broken ribs, two black eyes and abrasions on her wrists and ankles from being tied up, according to a Las Vegas police report.
Foster eventually agreed to plea deals in the cases, the documents said. He was sentenced to a maximum of 30 months in prison, but was given credit for 729 days served in the first case.
“Am I worried about what I already know? The answer is yes, Hensman said when asked about the previous charges in Nevada.
“We are laser-focused on catching this man and bringing him to justice,” Hensman said.
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