SALEM, Ore. – Police in southern Oregon were searching Thursday for a man accused of torturing a woman he was holding captive, less than two years after he was convicted in Nevada of holding another woman captive for weeks before the victim managed to escape.
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said in a phone interview that he finds it «extremely concerning» that the offender is wanted for attempted murder rather than remain behind bars for Nevada crimes.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, is now charged in Oregon with attempted murder, kidnapping and assault. Foster tried to kill the victim in Grants Pass while he «intentionally tortured» her and secretly confined her «in a location where she was not likely to be found,» Josephine County District Attorney Joshua Eastman wrote in a court document.
“We are focused on capturing this man and bringing him to justice,” Hensman said at a news conference on Thursday. “This is an all-hands-on operation.”
In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive inside his Las Vegas apartment for two weeks. He was initially charged with five felony counts, including assault and battery, and faced decades in prison upon conviction. But in August 2021, Foster reached a plea agreement with Clark County prosecutors that allowed him to plead guilty to one felony assault and one misdemeanor assault constituting domestic violence.
A judge sentenced him to up to 2 1/2 years in a Nevada prison. But after the 729 days he had spent in jail awaiting trial were included in his sentence, Foster had to serve fewer than 200 additional days in state custody.
Foster’s girlfriend at the time had suffered seven broken ribs, two black eyes and injuries from being bound at the wrists and ankles with zip ties and duct tape during her two-week captivity, according to a Las Vegas police report obtained by The Associated Press.
The woman also told police that she was forced to eat bleach and suffocated to the point of unconsciousness.
He escaped during a trip with Foster to a grocery store and a gas station, after Foster let the woman out of his sight. According to the police report, the woman ran to a nearby apartment complex and found a resident who rushed her to a hospital. Foster was arrested by SWAT officers later that day.
At the time, court records show, Foster was out of custody with a suspended jail sentence for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
He was also awaiting trial in another 2018 case involving domestic violence. But Foster’s 2021 plea agreement with prosecutors settled the domestic violence case, a copy of the agreement shows, and he was «sentenced to credit for time served.»
Police in Grants Pass, a city of about 40,000 in southwestern Oregon, provided recent photos in a news release of Foster and the Nissan Sentra he was driving. They said he is believed to be armed and is «considered extremely dangerous.»
“We are using all available technology to locate this man,” said Hensman, the police chief. «And I’ll leave it at that.»
On Tuesday, police went to a home in a residential Grants Pass neighborhood to investigate an assault, though Hensman declined to comment yet on how officers were alerted.
When they arrived, officers found a woman who had been tied up and beaten unconscious. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said.
“This is a very serious event, a brutal assault on one of our residents that we take very seriously,” added the police chief. «And we will not rest until we capture this individual.»
Hensman said he doesn’t have time now to explore how Nevada authorities handled Foster’s crimes there.
«No matter what happened in the past,» he said, «we can talk about those situations later.»