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Manhunt underway for Oregon man accused of torturing woman: Police

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(GRANTS PASS, Ore.) — A manhunt is underway in Oregon for a man accused of torturing a woman who authorities believe uses dating apps to find victims or people to help him evade police.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, is wanted by the Grants Pass Police Department for attempted murder, kidnapping and assault. He is an “extremely dangerous suspect” who “remains on the run,” the department warned in an update on Sunday.

“It’s essentially an all-hands-on-deck operation,” Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman told ABC News. “We are laser-focused.”

Police began looking for Foster on Jan. 24, after responding to a home in Grants Pass for an assault. At the home, officers found a woman in critical condition who had been “bound and severely beaten into unconsciousness,” police said.

The suspect had already fled the scene before officers arrived but was identified as Foster, of Wolf Creek, police said.

“The scene was horrific,” Hensman told ABC News. “This is a bad man that needs to be captured.”

Hensman told reporters during a press briefing on Jan. 26 that they are still working on a timeline, but said the assault is believed to have occurred over a “protracted period of time.” He would not elaborate on the nature of the suspect’s relationship with the victim.

Amid the manhunt, authorities located Foster’s car and executed a search warrant in a home in Wolf Creek last week. The suspect “evaded capture and likely received assistance in fleeing the area,” police said.

“The investigation has revealed that the suspect is actively using online dating applications to contact unsuspecting individuals who may be lured into assisting with the suspect’s escape or potentially as additional victims,” police said.

During the search of the home, a 68-year-old woman, Tina Marie Jones, was arrested for allegedly hindering prosecution. She remains in custody at the Josephine County Jail.

Hensman would not say whether there is any sign that Foster has left the area.

“We are following, we are monitoring, we are using every piece of technology available to law enforcement to locate this man, and I’ll leave it at that,” he told reporters last Thursday.

The victim, identified by her family as Justine Siemens, was transported to an area hospital and remains on life support.

“She will survive this and as her family, we implore the nation to help bring her attacker to justice,” her family said in a statement.

Foster has been convicted on domestic violence charges for two assaults that occurred within the past five years in Las Vegas, court records show.

In 2019, he was accused of holding his then-girlfriend captive inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks, according to an arrest report obtained at the time by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was charged with four counts of battery and two counts of assault, though in August 2021 he pleaded guilty to two of the battery charges as part of a plea deal, online court records show. A judge sentenced him to up to 1.5 years in prison, with credit for the 729 days he had already spent in jail awaiting trial, according to court records.

In August 2021, he reached another plea deal in a 2018 domestic violence case and was sentenced to credit for time served for a misdemeanor battery charge, court records show.

“Am I troubled by what I know already? The answer is yes,” Hensman told reporters when asked about the prior Las Vegas cases. “We’re laser-focused on capturing this man and bringing him to justice.”

The Grants Pass Police Department is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Foster in the attempted murder case.

Police described Foster as a 6-foot-tall white man weighing approximately 180 pounds with brown hair, possibly worn in a bun, and blue eyes. Police shared recent photographs of Foster with a beard, though they said he may attempt to change his appearance by shaving his beard and hair or changing his hair color.

“The Grants Pass Police Department asks the public to pay particular attention to Foster’s facial structure and eyes since those features are very difficult to change,” the department said.

Tips for sightings of the suspect “continue to flood into the department, and we are confident this dangerous criminal will soon be captured with the assistance of a concerned citizen,” the department said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Grants Pass Police tip line at 541-237-5607.

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