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Oregon kidnapping suspect Benjamin Obadiah Foster killed 2 before police standoff, official says



An Oregon man accused of violently kidnapping a woman and torturing her for days before fleeing into a forested area of the state is believed to have killed two people before he died of a self-inflicted gunshot during an hours-long standoff with police this week, police said Wednesday.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, died at a hospital Tuesday shortly after he was taken into custody at a property where he was staying in Grants Pass, Ore., authorities told reporters Wednesday.

Officials said Foster killed two people before he died by suicide. Richard Lee Barron Jr., 73, and Donald Owen Griffith, 64, were found dead while authorities were doing a door-to-door check in their search for Foster in the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek, Ore., about 20 miles outside of Grants Pass.

“We believe blunt force trauma was the means used in this,” Oregon State Police Capt. Kyle Kennedy said at a Wednesday news conference. “It’s a brutal scene.”

No relationship is known among Barron, Griffith and Foster, Kennedy said. Police said they think the men were most likely killed sometime between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.


Authorities surrounded a home in Grants Pass where they believed Foster was staying after he was spotted walking a dog Tuesday morning, police wrote on Facebook. Officers of four law enforcement agencies were in the area, and a SWAT team was set up as part of an hours-long standoff to get Foster to surrender, Lt. Jeff Hattersley of the Grants Pass Police Department told KTVL.

“Foster took his own life with what appears to be a single gunshot wound to the head with a .45-caliber weapon,” Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said at the news conference.

Though Foster was breathing when officers got to him, he was pronounced dead “almost immediately” when he arrived at a hospital, Hensman said.

The standoff concluded a week-long search that began after police discovered a woman, whose name was not released, bound and severely beaten in her home on Jan. 24 in what the police chief described as “an evil act.” The woman remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition, according to police. Authorities said Wednesday that the woman had previously been in a “domestic relationship” with Foster.

Man accused of torturing woman is still on dating apps, police say

Foster faced multiple charges from the attack, including attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to court records.

Foster was released from prison in Nevada about two years ago. He had been charged with holding another woman captive for weeks in her Las Vegas apartment in 2019 and was convicted on lesser charges, the Associated Press reported. Although a judge sentenced him to 2½ years in prison, he spent fewer than 200 days in state custody as his 700-plus days in jail awaiting trial were factored into his sentence.


Hensman told the AP last week that it was “extremely troubling” that Foster wasn’t behind bars. Hattersley told The Washington Post this week that Grants Pass police were not aware of Foster’s criminal history or plea deal.

After police served a search warrant last week at a property in Wolf Creek, where they thought Foster was hiding, authorities discovered his 2008 Nissan Sentra, and arrested 68-year-old Tina Marie Jones and charged her with hindering prosecution. Police said they think Jones was initially following Foster in another vehicle. After he drove his car over an embankment, she gave him a ride to the property, Hattersley said this week.

Police had warned that Foster was active on dating apps to potentially find more victims. Authorities also said he may have changed his appearance by shaving and dyeing his hair. Hattersley said it was “unlikely” that Jones and Foster met through a dating app, adding that she lived near his family and probably had “associations within the community.”

On Tuesday, police posted a blurry photo of him walking a small dog in the area.

“If anyone observes this subject, please call 9-1-1 immediately,” the department wrote on Facebook.

Hours later, police cornered Foster under the porch of the house, according to CBS News. Authorities fired gunshots and tear gas into the house in an attempt to get him to come out.

Video from KTVL shows a large police presence outside the house in Grants Pass, a city of about 40,000 in southwest Oregon. Some residents told the Daily Courier they received alerts telling them to shelter in place as police surrounded the property.


Hensman told reporters Wednesday that the woman who was tortured by Foster “has a long way to battle herself toward recovery.”

Source: Washington Post

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