(NewsNation) — An intensive, around-the-clock manhunt is underway in southwest Oregon.
Benjamin Foster, 36, is accused of kidnapping a woman and brutally attacking her in Grants Pass nearly a week ago. That woman remains in the hospital in critical condition.
While details are sparse, investigators say she was found Tuesday, unconscious, bound and near death in Grants Pass.
On Thursday, authorities raided a property in the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek, around 20 miles north of Grants Pass, where they found Foster’s car and arrested a 68-year-old woman for hindering prosecution. But Foster managed to escape.
According to court documents, the woman who was arrested, identified as Tina Marie Jones, followed Foster earlier in the day as he drove to a remote spot in Wolf Creek and intentionally drove his car over an embankment. The court documents say then Jones gave Foster a ride to the property where Foster had been hiding while police searched for him.
Grants Pass police say Foster is now “actively” using dating apps to potentially find people who can help him avoid the police or find new victims.
“I’m sure he’s got several tactics — find something that will appeal to the women, he’ll pursue that if there’s something else. If that’s not working, he probably has a Plan B or Plan C that basically appeals to their sympathies or their desires,” Former FBI agent Dennis Franks said.
Authorities are now offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Foster, who they call “extremely dangerous.”
He’s wanted on the following charges: attempted murder, kidnapping and assault in the attack of the Oregon woman.
Meanwhile, Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman called it “extremely troubling” that Foster was a free man and able to prey on other women instead of being behind bars for crimes in Nevada.
This is not the first time Foster has faced allegations like this. In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster was arrested for holding his then-girlfriend captive inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks. The woman told investigators she was forced to eat lye and choked to the point of unconsciousness.
According to a police report, she suffered several broken ribs and had two black eyes as well as injuries from being bound at the wrists and ankles. She managed to escape when Foster let her out of his sight during a trip to a grocery store and gas station.
Foster was initially charged with five felonies and faced decades in prison. But in 2021, he reached a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to plead guilty to lesser charges and was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars with credit for time served.
“I would have to say that someone that holds somebody, ties them up and tortures for two weeks is sadistic. I mean, there’s something there that this person gets some kind of pleasure out of this,” Franks said.
Franks urged people using dating apps to trust their instincts if they think the situation may be too good to be true, or something doesn’t feel right.
Julie Spira, founder of Cyber-Dating Expert, says some red flags people should look out for when going on these apps are:
- a blurry profile picture, or none at all
- people who brag about money, their possessions
- angry people, such as those who talk about how much they hate their ex
- financial problems
For those who end up taking the next step and going on a date with someone they met online, Spira suggests
- meeting in a public place
- scheduling a phone call in advance
- doing a Google Image reverse check before the date
- doing a background check
- having a friend to check in with
- don’t go on a date intoxicated
“We all take dating safety so seriously in our industry,” Spira said. “A story like this breaks my heart.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.