Oregon kidnapping suspect dead after being taken into custody
Update 5:47 a.m.:
Police in Grants Pass, Ore. say a man wanted for a violent kidnapping died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following an hours-long standoff Tuesday night.
Benjamin Foster barricaded himself under a house as officers from four agencies set up a command post and assembled a SWAT team while attempting to secure his surrender.
Police later confirmed Foster was in custody, but a little more than an hour later, he had succumbed to his injuries.
Update 10:22 p.m.: The Grants Pass Police Department announced they have captured Benjamin Foster Tuesday night after a several-hour-long standoff.
A manhunt is still underway for 36-year-old Benjamin Foster, last seen and rumored to be located in southwest Oregon.
On Jan. 24, the Grants Pass Police Department received a call regarding an assault of a woman. Police officers responded and found the victim had been bound, severely beaten, and tortured. She was transported to a local hospital, where she still remains in critical condition as of this reporting.
“She was found bound in the legs and hands. She was very close to death,” said Lieutenant Jeff Hattersley with the Criminal Investigations Division for the Grants Pass Police Department. “If a friend of hers hadn’t come to check on her, I’m sure that this would be a murder investigation instead of an attempted murder investigation. She was severely beaten on all parts of her body, and its placed her in critical condition to the fact where she still hasn’t regained consciousness.”
Hattersley stated the department is working with state and federal authorities to track Foster. Law enforcement officials were able to determine that Foster had been accessing dating applications on his phone, whether or not that was his means of targeting victims.
“We don’t know that he’s using the applications to specifically target new victims, but we also don’t know that he’s not doing that,” Hattersley told KIRO Newsradio. “He very well could be using the apps to try to meet people in hopes of luring them into assisting with his escape.”
Foster is known to be armed with a .22 caliber pistol, as of this reporting, and is extremely dangerous.
“We need to get him off the street so that the public will be safer,” Hattersley said. “Foster had a previous history in Las Vegas, Nevada, with a similar case where he had kidnapped a girlfriend for a couple of weeks, and he was prosecuted for that. When he was released, he returned to Oregon, and now, we have him doing a much more violent crime at this point.”
Puyallup man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody
Criminals being released early is not a foreign issue for the Puget Sound region, as City Attorney Ann Davison launched a program, the High Utilizer Initiative, to track and follow 118 local individuals who prosecutors have said are accused of committing approximately 2,400 crimes over the last five years, including 1,019 thefts, 589 trespasses, 409 assaults, and 101 weapons violations.
“He was seen by a witness fleeing the scene in his vehicle, and a manhunt ensued at that point,” Hattersley said. “A tip led us to an address on Sunny Valley Loop in the Wolf Creek area, where we observed Benjamin Foster. He was, unfortunately, able to flee into the forest and evade capture. We did, however, seize additional evidence at that scene.”
The additional evidence included a Nissan Sentra he was previously seen driving in. Authorities arrested a female, Tina Jones, at the residence for aiding and abetting Foster.
“Since Foster is from the general area where this woman lived, it’s believed that there had been some type of acquaintance prior to all these crimes occurring,” Hattersley said.
Grants Pass Police has offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of Benjamin Foster and is asking residents, even those all the way up north in Washington, to stay vigilant and safe.
Police arrest ‘clothed but very wet’ bathtub burglar in Madrona
“But with this serious of a crime and what he’s facing, I’m sure he’s desperate to get out of the area and evade escape,” Hattersley said. “So, at this point, we’re really not sure where he may end up. He very well could end up in Washington.”
Authorities stated original photos of Foster show him with long hair and a beard, but it is very likely that he has altered his appearance, including shaving the beard, his hair, or even wearing a wig.
“We ask that everyone take a look at the photos that we have posted so that they can see what his face looks like, what his eyes look like, and pay particular attention to those things that cannot be easily changed, like the hairstyle,” Hattersley said.