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

Authorities suspect Benjamin Obadiah Foster may be trying to find people who can help him avoid arrest or who could become another victim

Authorities are looking for Benjamin Obadiah Foster. (Grants Pass Police Department/AP)
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A man accused of kidnapping a woman and torturing her for days before fleeing into a forested area of southwest Oregon has been active on dating apps to avoid capture by police or potentially find more victims, authorities warn.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, may have changed his appearance by shaving and dyeing his hair and has taken to apps where he can lure women into helping him escape or becoming his next victim, the Grants Pass Police Department said this weekend as authorities looked for the man.

The search for Foster began Tuesday after police discovered a woman, whose name was not released, bound and severely beaten in her home in what the police chief described as “an evil act.” The woman is hospitalized in critical condition, police said Sunday.

Grants Pass police and other state and federal law enforcement officers are using all available tools, including a tip line and $2,500 reward, but there have been no credible sightings of Foster, Lt. Jeff Hattersley told The Washington Post on Monday.

About two years ago, Foster was released from prison in Nevada, where he had been charged with holding another woman captive for weeks and convicted on lesser charges, the Associated Press reported. Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told the AP that it was “extremely troubling” Foster wasn’t behind bars.

“We are using every piece of technology available to law enforcement to locate this man,” Hensman said during a news conference Thursday. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

Foster may be armed with a handgun, police say.

On Thursday, police served a search warrant at a property in Wolf Creek, Ore., where they think Foster had hidden, about 18 miles from where police found the woman who had been assaulted. 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. He said it is “unlikely” that Jones and Foster met through a dating app, adding that she lived near his family and probably had “associations within the community.”

Foster faces multiple charges in the Oregon attack, including attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to court records.

In Nevada, he had been charged in 2019 with one count each of domestic battery by strangulation; domestic violence battery; coercion with threat or force and kidnapping; and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, the Las Vegas Sun reported at the time. Police said he had bound and beaten his girlfriend for two weeks. At the same time, he faced a separate charge of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and a 2017 charge of domestic violence battery by strangulation.

After reaching a deal with Clark County prosecutors in 2021, Foster pleaded guilty to one felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence, the AP reported. He was sentenced to 2½ years but ended up serving fewer than 200 days after sentencing because of the time he served awaiting trial.

Hattersley said Grants Pass police were not aware of Foster’s criminal history or plea deal.

“There’s really no way for us to know how or why things were handled the way they were by the district attorney in Nevada,” Hattersley said. “We’re not sure exactly why or how it ended up being such a short term that he was incarcerated.”