An attempted murder suspect killed two men while investigators were searching for him, law enforcement announced in a press conference on Wednesday. Authorities tracked down Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, to a home, where he “burrowed” underneath the residence and eventually shot himself, they said.
This marks the end of a manhunt for an “extremely dangerous” suspect police originally advised may have been using dating apps to lure in victims. Police in Grants Pass, Oregon, previously said a woman was found bound, severely beaten, unconscious at an Oregon home on Tuesday. They blamed Foster, charging him with attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault.
Authorities today said the woman remains in stable and critical condition from torture that happened over a “protracted period of time.” Grants Pass police Chief Warren Hensman declined to name her or clarify her link to Foster beyond this being a “former domestic relationship.”
Investigators said they later got a tip about Foster being at a home in Wolf Creek on Thursday. He slipped out and evaded police that night, they said.
Authorities previously said that they arrested Wolf Creek resident Tina Marie Jones, 68, for hindering prosecution. They claim she hid him and helped him escape. Records show they booked her into the Josephine County Jail on Thursday.
Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel said that as part of the search for Foster, his deputies went door to door at homes in the Sunny Valley community. They looked through the open window of a certain residence and discovered a crime scene. Inside, investigators discovered two men dead:
- Richard Lee Barron Jr., born in 1949
- Donald Owen Griffith, born in 1958
Foster is the suspect in these killings, based on the M.O. in the attempted murder case, Hensman said. There is no known connection between him and the two slain men, Oregon State Police Capt. Kyle Kennedy said. Cause of death was “blunt force trauma,” he said. The captain called it a “brutal scene.”
Investigators claim Foster took items and a dog. He was recorded walking the canine Tuesday morning, they said.
Authorities said that they tracked Foster back to the area near the original Shane Way location.
“He brutally murdered two innocents in Sunny Valley, and we didn’t know when he was going to stop,” Hensman said.
Foster allegedly did not want communicate with police. He “burrowed” deep under the home, the chief said. Knowing he was armed and dangerous, law enforcement anticipated a gunfight, Hensman said. But in the end, Foster shot himself in the head with a .45 caliber weapon, the chief said. Authorities noticed he was still breathing, and they worked to get him to a hospital, Hensman said. Police had to cut into the floorboards of the home to get to Foster, the chief said. Hospital staff later pronounced the suspect dead.
Hensman voiced frustration with not being able to arrest Foster and ask him about his motives. The chief said there will remain unanswered questions.
Police previously said Foster was using dating apps to potentially evade authorities or find victims.
“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,” officers said in a Facebook post.
Hensman did not elaborate on this in detail.
“And the reality is that we had to share with you and the community that there was the potential for Benjamin Foster to continue using dating apps or an app to engage with somebody that might be unsuspecting, so we definitely had some leads that took us in that direction, but I’m not going to sit here and say that he was actively participating on dating apps to recruit people to help him escape or manipulate somebody else.”
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