Man accused of severely beating, kidnapping Oregon woman knew his victim, police say

Jan 31, 2023, 7:40 PM
A man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman in southwest Oregon knew his victim before the at...
A man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman in southwest Oregon knew his victim before the attack, police tell CNN, as the week-long search for the suspect continues, and authorities advise that Benjamin Foster, pictured above, may try to change his appearance as he evades police. (Grants Pass Police Department via CNN)
(Grants Pass Police Department via CNN)

(CNN) — A man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman in southwest Oregon knew his victim before the attack, police tell CNN, as the week-long search for the suspect continues.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, had a “prior relationship” with the victim, Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told CNN Monday. He did not provide further details but said, “This was not a random attack.”

On Tuesday evening, police had surrounded a home believed to be connected to Foster’s case, according to CNN affiliate KTVL, which is on the scene. Authorities have not confirmed whether Foster is inside the home, KTVL said.

Some residents in the neighborhood received a notification to shelter in place, the affiliate reported.

CNN has reached out to Grants Pass police, the Josephine and Jefferson County sheriff’s offices and FBI’s Portland office about the developing situation and has not heard back.

The search for Foster began Jan. 24 after officers found a woman who had been bound and severely beaten into unconsciousness, Grants Pass Police said. Foster had already fled the crime scene when police arrived, they said.

The victim was initially found by a friend who called police and identified Foster as the suspect, Hensman said.

When officers arrived Jan. 24, they found “an absolutely disgusting scene,” the police chief said, adding that images taken by investigators are “horrific.”

Prosecutors have accused Foster of trying to kill the woman while “intentionally torturing” her, according to charging documents obtained by CNN affiliate KDRV. The victim endured the alleged abuses for a “protracted amount of time” and was still hospitalized in critical condition as of Sunday, the police chief has said.

“I’ve seen a lot in my career, but some things do stick with you, and this will stay stained in my memory for many years to come,” Hensman told CNN Monday.

Federal, state and local authorities have launched an “around the clock” search for Foster, who investigators believe has received help evading capture, the police chief said.

Foster is wanted on suspicion of attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to police, and court records show he has previously been accused of attacking women in two prior cases.

Investigators are still sifting through a “significant amount” of evidence and following up on the flood of tips that the department has received so far, the police chief said.

Authorities are urging the public to send in any information about Foster’s whereabouts or potential sightings of the suspect. People should pay particular attention to his eyes and facial structure, police said, because he may have tried to alter his appearance by cutting or coloring his hair and beard.

Hensman encouraged people who come into contact with Foster — either in person or online — to call 911 immediately. Police have warned that the “extremely dangerous suspect” could be armed.

Suspect could be threat to those who ‘befriend him,’ police say

Hensman said Monday that he does not believe Foster is a “random attacker” but warned “nothing is off the table with an individual like him.”

“He’s definitely a threat to others,” the police chief said. “I think he would be a threat to somebody who might befriend him.”

Investigators previously said Foster may be using dating apps to find potential new victims or manipulate people into helping him evade arrest. Hensman declined to clarify Monday whether Foster is still active on those apps.

Foster has been accused of attacking women who he had relationships with in two separate cases in Las Vegas, Clark County records show.

In the first case, Foster was charged with felony battery constituting domestic violence, the records show. His ex-girlfriend testified that he tried to strangle her on Christmas Eve in 2017 after he saw that another man had texted her, according to the documents.

He was also charged with felony assault, battery and kidnapping for alleged abuses against his then-girlfriend in 2019, according to charging documents.

The victim in that case told police Foster strangled her several times and kept her tied up for most of the following two weeks, a Las Vegas police report said. When she was finally able to escape to a hospital, she had seven broken ribs, two black eyes and abrasions to her wrists and ankles from being tied up, the report said.

Foster accepted plea deals in both cases. In the first case, he was sentenced to a maximum of 30 months in prison but given credit for 729 days served.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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Man accused of severely beating, kidnapping Oregon woman knew his victim, police say