SALEM, Ore. (AP) – The suspect in a violent kidnapping in Oregon – a man who spent little time behind bars for a similar crime in Nevada – killed two men before being cornered by officers and fatally shot himself, police said on Wednesday with.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, died in a hospital Tuesday night, hours after shooting himself while hiding in a crawl space under a house in Grants Pass. In a press conference the next day, police officers revealed details of the intense manhunt for Foster, including a search for the bodies of the two men in a rural area north of Grants Pass.
Richard Lee Barron Jr. and Donald Owen Griffith were killed sometime between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, Oregon State Police Captain Kyle Kennedy said.
The men lived together in the unincorporated community of Sunny Valley and appeared unaware of Foster, who police said made a gruesome scene and stole some of the victims’ belongings, including their dog.
Foster was spotted walking a dog in Grants Pass on Tuesday, police say.
He had been the subject of a manhunt after a woman was found unconscious, bound and near death in a house in Grants Pass on January 24. Authorities say Foster tortured the woman, who remained in hospital in critical condition on Wednesday.
Foster narrowly escaped a raid in the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek last Thursday, and police warned the public the next day that he was using dating apps to find people who could help him avoid authorities or to meet new ones to find victims.
Foster was then seen Tuesday in the same neighborhood where the woman was found. He barricaded himself under the same house when police arrived in full force. Foster then shot himself, was taken into custody and died in a hospital, police said.
In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive in her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks. He reached a settlement with Clark County prosecutors in August 2021 that allowed him to plead guilty to one count of assault and assault constituting domestic violence.
A judge sentenced Foster to between one and two and a half years in Nevada prison. After accounting for the 729 days he spent in prison awaiting trial, Foster could have served nearly 200 additional days under the maximum sentence. Instead, he was released the day he was admitted to prison, according to Nevada Correctional Facility officials.
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said last week it was “extremely disturbing” that Foster was wanted for attempted murder in Oregon instead of spending time in Nevada.
The attack on the woman and subsequent search by local, state and federal agents has shaken residents of Grants Pass, a town of about 40,000 in southwest Oregon.
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