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An Oregon man accused of torturing woman before killing himself is now also a double-homicide suspect, police say

<i>Scott Stoddard/AP</i><br/>
Scott Stoddard/AP

By Paradise Afshar, Joe Sutton and Steve Almasy, CNN

Investigators believe a man who was accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman in Oregon and then died from a self-inflicted gunshot after a standoff with law enforcement also killed two men while he was on the run, authorities said Wednesday.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, died in a hospital Tuesday after an hourslong standoff that day with law enforcement in Grants Pass, Oregon, according to authorities.

Foster was the subject of a manhunt that began January 24 after police found a female Grants Pass resident bound and severely beaten. On Tuesday, sheriff’s deputies doing a welfare check at a home in a community about 15 miles north of town discovered two men who had been killed.

Later Tuesday, police learned Foster returned to the same Grants Pass home where the January 24 torturing happened. After a standoff there, Foster shot himself with a .45 caliber gun and died that night in a hospital, Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said at a news conference Wednesday. It took time to extricate Foster, he said, because the suspect had burrowed deep under the house and floorboards needed to be cut to reach him.

Foster still was breathing after he was removed, but died an hour or two after being taken to the hospital, the chief said. Foster was the only suspect in the men’s killings, authorities added.

“We are confident the community is safe,” Hensman told reporters.

The woman who had been tortured last week remains in critical condition but is stable, Hensman said.

The double homicide discovered Tuesday in Sunny Valley left a “brutal scene,” and the two men were victims of blunt force trauma, Oregon State Police Capt. Kyle Kennedy said. While investigators think Foster killed the men, their work is not finished, he said.

Investigators believe Foster was picked up from the area by a taxi Tuesday morning and driven to Grants Pass near the original crime scene, Kennedy said. Surveillance video in Grants Pass captured Foster with property that was linked back to the killings, according to Kennedy.

On Tuesday, before the standoff was announced, Grant Pass police posted a photo to their Facebook page of the suspect walking a small dog. Hensman on Wednesday confirmed the dog was taken from the slain victims’ property.

Details about what led to the two killings in Sunny Valley weren’t immediately available.

In the January 24 case, prosecutors had accused Foster of torturing the woman with the intention of killing her, according to charging documents. Foster had been wanted on suspicion of attempted murder, kidnapping and assault.

Foster knew that victim before the attack, Hensman told CNN on Monday, saying the two had a “prior relationship.” He did not elaborate but said, “This was not a random attack.” At Wednesday’s news conference he referred to it as a “former domestic relationship.”

The victim initially was found by a friend who called 911 and identified Foster as a suspect, police said. Officers were confronted with “an absolutely disgusting scene,” Hensman previously told CNN. The victim had been suffering the alleged abuses for a “protracted amount of time” before she was discovered, he said.

“This will stay stained in my memory for many years to come,” the police chief said, describing images of the scene as “horrific.”

The suspect had already fled by the time officers arrived where she was found, prompting a sweeping multiday search for Foster that drew a flood of tips from the public and included federal, state and local agencies, police said.

As they searched for Foster, police warned he was “extremely dangerous” and potentially armed. Hensman said he was “definitely a threat to others,” particularly those who might try to befriend him.

Investigators said Foster likely received help fleeing law enforcement.

Police said they looked for him January 26 at a residence in Wolf Creek — some 20 miles north of Grants Pass — but he “evaded capture and likely received assistance in fleeing the area.” A 68-year-old Wolf Creek woman was arrested on suspicion of hindering prosecution, police said.

Foster was subject of other abuse allegations

At least two women who have had relationships with Foster have accused him of attacking and abusing them, according to Clark County court records from cases in Las Vegas.

In the first case, his ex-girlfriend testified that in 2017 Foster flew into a rage and strangled her after seeing that another man had texted her. Foster was charged with felony battery constituting domestic violence, the records show.

While that case was still pending, he was charged with felony assault, battery and kidnapping after his then-girlfriend told police that he had strangled her multiple times and kept her tied up for most of a two-week period, according to the documents.

The woman was finally able to escape by convincing Foster they needed to go shop for food and fleeing through a store, a Las Vegas police report said. When she reached a hospital, she had seven broken ribs, two black eyes and abrasions to her wrists and ankles from being tied up, the report said.

Foster accepted plea deals in both cases. In the first case, he was sentenced to a maximum of 30 months in prison but given credit for 729 days served.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Tina Burnside, Lucy Kafanov, Jeremy Harlan, Andy Rose, Sonya Hamasaki, Colin Jeffery and Nouran Salahieh contributed to this report.

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