GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was seen walking a dog Tuesday in the same part of southern Oregon where the victim had been tortured, police said.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, was spotted Tuesday morning in the Grants Pass area, the Grants Pass Police Department said on Facebook.
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies have been looking for Foster since a woman was found unconscious, bound and near death on Jan. 24 in Grants Pass. She was hospitalized in critical condition.
Police were at the residence Tuesday afternoon where the woman was found, KDRV-TV reported. Some area residents received a notification to shelter in place, according to KTVL-TV.
Police have not confirmed to the television stations whether they believe Foster is inside the residence.
Last Thursday, law enforcement raided a property in the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek, but Foster, who had been staying on family property there, slipped away. Forested mountains surround the community, but investigators believe that instead of disappearing solo into the wilderness, Foster had help getting out of the area.
Grants Pass is a town of some 40,000 in southwest Oregon next to Interstate 5.
In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks. He initially was charged with five felonies, including assault and battery, and faced decades in prison upon conviction. But in August 2021, Foster reached a deal with Clark County prosecutors that allowed him to plead guilty to one felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence.
A judge sentenced him to up to 2 1/2 years in a Nevada prison. But after the 729 days he had spent in jail awaiting trial were factored into his punishment, Foster was left to serve less than 200 additional days in state custody.