Man Accused of Torture May Be Using Dating Apps to Avoid Capture, Police Say – The New York Times
A man who the authorities said tortured a woman this week in Oregon and held her captive before fleeing into the wilderness has been using dating apps in recent days to either target more victims or force someone to help him elude capture, the police said on Friday.
The authorities in Grants Pass, Ore., have deployed dozens of officers and investigators to find the man, Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, who they believe tied and bound a woman in her own home and severely beat her until she was unconscious.
Investigators are still piecing together a timeline of the crime, but Lt. Jeff Hattersley of the Grants Pass Police Department said in an interview on Friday that investigators believe the woman, whose name has not been released, was kidnapped sometime between Monday, when she was last seen by a friend, and Tuesday evening, when she was found and taken to a hospital.
On Friday afternoon, the woman was still hospitalized in critical but stable condition, the police said.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 32 years,” Lieutenant Hattersley said, “and this is one of the most heinous, terrible cases I’ve ever seen.”
Lieutenant Hattersley declined to share many details about Mr. Foster’s activity on the dating apps. He said detectives had learned of his activity after obtaining his electronic devices through a search warrant.
The prospect of Mr. Foster remaining free has unnerved the community in Grants Pass, a small city of about 39,000 residents in southern Oregon where homes are surrounded by forests, as police officers continue their sprawling manhunt.
Lieutenant Hattersley said Mr. Foster “knew the victim already” before attacking her, but he declined to elaborate because of the continuing investigation.
On Tuesday, a friend of the victim was concerned that he had not heard from the woman in hours, so he walked to her home and “interrupted” as the torture was occurring, Lieutenant Hattersley said. Mr. Foster then fled the rural neighborhood in his car and later “escaped into the wilderness” on foot, he added.
The lieutenant said that were it not for the friend showing up at the house, “I think we’d have a completely different investigation” into a possible killing.
“It’s clear that his intent was to kill her,” Lieutenant Hattersley said.
Police dogs joined the search in the woods, but officers have been unable to find Mr. Foster. On Thursday, the authorities found Mr. Foster’s car in Wolf Creek, a neighboring unincorporated community in Josephine County. That evening, the police also arrested Tina Marie Jones, who investigators believe hid Mr. Foster and helped him evade officers. She was charged with two counts of hindering prosecution, Lieutenant Hattersley said.