Man tortured woman he held captive and is using dating apps to avoid capture, police say

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A man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman for days before fleeing into a forested area of southwest Oregon has been active on dating apps to avoid capture by police or potentially find more victims, authorities warn.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, may have changed his appearance by shaving and dyeing his hair and has taken to apps where he can lure women into helping him escape or becoming his next victim, the Grants Pass Police Department said this weekend as authorities looked for the man.

The search for Foster began Tuesday after police discovered a woman, who was not named, bound and severely beaten in her home in what the police chief described as “an evil act.” The woman is hospitalized in critical condition, police said Sunday.

About two years ago, Foster was released from prison in Nevada where he had been charged with holding another woman captive for weeks and convicted on lesser charges, the Associated Press reported. Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told the AP that it was “extremely troubling” Foster wasn’t behind bars.

“We are using every piece of technology available to law enforcement to locate this man,” Hensman said during a news conference Thursday. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

Foster may be armed with a handgun, police say.

On Thursday, police served a search warrant at a property in Wolf Creek, Ore., where they think Foster had hidden, about 18 miles from where police found the woman who had been assaulted. Authorities discovered his 2008 Nissan Sentra, and arrested 68-year-old Tina Marie Jones and charged her with hindering prosecution.

Police think the woman was initially following Foster in another vehicle when he drove his car over an embankment. She then gave him a ride to the property, the AP reported. It’s unclear whether Jones and Foster met through a dating app. Grants Pass police declined a request for an interview about the case on Sunday.

Foster faces multiple charges in the Oregon attack, including attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to court records.

In Nevada, he had been charged in 2019 with one count each of domestic battery by strangulation; domestic violence battery; coercion with threat or force and kidnapping; and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, the Las Vegas Sun reported at the time. Police said he had bound and beaten his girlfriend for two weeks. At the same time, he faced a separate charge of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and a 2017 charge of domestic violence battery by strangulation.

After reaching a deal with Clark County prosecutors in 2021, Foster pleaded guilty to one felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence, the AP reported. He was sentenced to 2½ years but ended up serving fewer than 200 days after sentencing because of the time he served awaiting trial.

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