SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police in southern Oregon were searching Thursday for a man accused of torturing a woman he held captive less than two years after he was convicted in Nevada of critically injuring another woman he held captive for two weeks.
Police Chief Warren Hensman, of Grants Pass, Oregon, said in a telephone interview that he finds it “extremely troubling” that the felon was able to commit more crimes instead of still being behind bars for the Nevada crimes. The Nevada captivity ended only when the victim managed to escape.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, is charged in Oregon with attempted murder, kidnapping and assault. Foster tried to kill the victim in Grants Pass while “intentionally torturing” her and secretly confining her “in a place where she was not likely to be found,” Josephine County District Attorney Joshua Eastman wrote in a court document.
“We are laser-focused on capturing this man and bringing him to justice,” Hensman said at a news conference Thursday. “This is an all-hands-on-deck operation.”
In 2019, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive inside a Las Vegas apartment for two weeks. He initially was charged with five felonies, including assault and battery. After reaching a deal with Clark County prosecutors in August 2021, Foster pleaded guilty to one felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence.
A judge sentenced him to up to 2.5 years in a Nevada prison, but after the 729 days he had spent in jail awaiting trial were factored into his punishment, Foster was left to serve less than 200 additional days in prison.
According to a Las Vegas police report, Foster’s girlfriend at the time had suffered seven broken ribs, two black eyes and injuries on her wrists and ankles during her two-week captivity. She also told police she was forced to eat lye and choked to the point of unconsciousness.
At the time, court records show Foster was out of custody on a suspended jail sentence in connection with a 2018 case for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. He also was awaiting trial in another case involving domestic violence.
Police in Grants Pass, a town of some 40,000 in southwest Oregon, provided photos in a news release of Foster and the Nissan Sentra car he was driving. They said he is believed to be armed and is “considered extremely dangerous.”
“We are using every piece of technology available to locate this man, and I’ll leave it at that,” Hensman said.
On Tuesday, police responded to a home in a residential neighborhood of Grants Pass regarding an assault. Upon arrival, officers found a woman who had been bound and beaten unconscious. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Foster fled before officers arrived, police said.
Hensman said he didn’t want to discuss yet how the officers were alerted.
“This is a very serious event, a brutal assault of one of our residents that we take extremely seriously,” the police chief said. “And we will not rest until we capture this individual.”
Hensman said he doesn’t have time now to explore how authorities in Nevada handled Foster’s crimes there.
“Whatever happened in the past, we can talk about those situations later,” he said.
Rio Yamat reported from Las Vegas.