Report: ‘Extremely dangerous’ Oregon kidnapping suspect dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound following standoff with police
By Elizabeth Wolfe, Paradise Afshar and Tina Burnside, CNN
A man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman in Oregon this month died from a self inflicted-gunshot wound following an hourslong standoff with authorities Tuesday night, a CNN affiliate reported.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, died in the hospital after law enforcement had surrounded a property in Grants Pass, Oregon, where he was believed to be hiding under a house, CNN affiliate KTVL reported, citing police. Authorities had been trying to get the suspect to surrender, the report said.
Grants Pass police announced late Tuesday that Foster — sought by authorities for a week — was in custody, but did not provide details on how the standoff ended. Police said they would hold a news conference Wednesday.
CNN has reached out to Grants Pass police, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s Portland office and has not heard back.
News that Foster was in custody came after police said Foster was seen walking a dog in the Grants Pass area Tuesday morning.
The search for Foster began January 24 after officers found a woman who had been bound and severely beaten into unconsciousness inside a Grants Pass home, police said. Foster had already fled the crime scene when police arrived, they said.
The victim still was hospitalized in critical condition as of Sunday, according to Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman.
Federal, state and local authorities had been searching “around the clock” for Foster, who is wanted on suspicion of attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to the police chief.
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,” the police chief has said.
The victim was initially found by a friend who called police and identified Foster as the suspect, Hensman said.
When officers arrived January 24, they found “an absolutely disgusting scene,” the police chief said, adding that images taken by investigators are “horrific.”
“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.
Foster and his victim had a “prior relationship,” Hensman told CNN Monday. He did not provide further details but said, “This was not a random attack.”
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.
Hensman had encouraged people who come into contact with Foster — either in person or online — to call 911 immediately. Police warned that the “extremely dangerous suspect” could have been armed.
Suspect could be threat to those who ‘befriend him,’ police say
Hensman said Monday that he did 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.
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CNN’s Lucy Kafanov, Jeremy Harlan, Andy Rose, Sonya Hamasaki, Colin Jeffery and Nouran Salahieh contributed to this report.