A man suspected of torturing a woman and holding her captive in Oregon is using dating apps to target new victims or to lure individuals into helping him evade police, authorities said Friday.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, is the subject of an intensive, round-the-clock search by police after a woman was found bound and “severely beaten into unconsciousness” on Jan. 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 assisting 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.
“Following a lengthy manhunt, Foster evaded capture and likely received assistance in fleeing the area,” Grants Pass police said 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 hindering prosecution.
According to court documents, Foster had driven to a remote location in Wolf Creek and intentionally drove his vehicle over an embankment. Jones then drove Foster to the property that was raided Thursday where Foster had been hiding.
Authorities said Foster “is actively using online dating applications to contact unsuspecting individuals who may be lured into assisting with the suspect’s escape or potentially as additional victims.”
Grants Pass police have advised people to be “extra safe while this predator is still at large” and warned that those who assist Foster with his escape will face potential prosecution.
Police offered a $2,500 reward on Friday for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Foster.
Authorities said in an update Sunday that Foster is wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault. They also believe that Foster may attempt to change his appearance and is known to be armed, making him “extremely dangerous.”
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Foster was also previously convicted of holding a woman captive in Nevada.
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told the Associated Press last week that it is “extremely troubling” that Foster was out and able to prey on other women instead of still being behind bars for the Nevada crimes.
Foster was initially charged with five felonies and decades of prison time after he was arrested for holding his then-girlfriend captive in her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks in 2019, according to AP.
But in 2021, Foster was able to reach a deal with local prosecutors and plead guilty to one felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence, AP reported. Foster was sentenced to up to 2 1/2 years in a Nevada prison.
According to court records, Foster was out of custody at the time on a suspended jail sentence for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
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 to credit for time served.”
Contributing: The Associated Press