SALEM, Ore. — Police say a suspect in Oregon is reportedly using dating apps to find new victims or help in avoiding authorities.
The Grants Pass Police Department said in a news release Thursday evening that officers, with the help of Oregon State Police SWAT, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and federal partners, served a search warrant in the 1300 block of Sunny Valley Loop in Wolf Creek to arrest Benjamin Obadiah Foster for attempted murder. Foster evaded capture and reportedly got help fleeing the area.
Investigators arrested Tina Marie Jones, 68, for hindering prosecution during the search for Foster, police said.
On Tuesday just before 7 p.m., authorities said officers were called to a house in the 2100 block of Shane Way about an assault. When officers arrived, they found an unconscious woman who had been bound and severely beaten. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Foster was reportedly identified as the suspect.
Authorities learned that Foster was using online dating applications to “contact unsuspecting individuals who may be lured into assisting with the suspect’s escape or potentially as additional victims,” the Grants Pass Police Department said. Authorities added that if anyone assists him with his escape, they could face possible prosecution.
According to court records obtained by the Associated Press, investigators believe Jones followed Foster in a car earlier Thursday as he drove to a remote area in Wolf Creek and intentionally drove his 2008 Nissan Sentra over an embankment. He gave Foster a ride to where the search warrant took place on Thursday night, according to the AP.
In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster pled guilty to a felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence after reportedly holding his then-girlfriend captive inside her apartment in Las Vegas for two weeks, according to the AP. He was originally charged with five felonies that included assault and battery that would have come with decades behind bars.
After reaching a plea deal with prosecutors, Foster was sentenced to two and a half years in a Nevada prison. According to the AP, Foster awaited trial in jail for 729 days which ended up being factored into his sentence, leaving him with less than 200 days to serve in state custody.
According to a Las Vegas police report obtained by the AP, Foster’s then-girlfriend had seven broken ribs, two black eyes, and other injuries from her two-week captivity. She was able to escape during a grocery and gas station trip with Foster.
Foster was out of custody at the time on a suspended jail sentence for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, according to court records obtained by the AP. He was also awaiting trial for a 2018 domestic violence case which was settled with a “time served” plea deal.
The Grants Pass Police Department said they have established a tip line and are offering a $2,500 reward for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Foster. The tip line phone number is 541-237-5607. Police say you should not approach Foster and call 911.
No further information has been released.
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