LAS VEGAS, Nev. (702 Times, NV Globe) – Authorities announced Monday that a man at the heart of an intensive police hunt in Oregon following a horrific kidnapping last week was freed from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state’s custody to fulfill a kidnapping term.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, was charged with five crimes, including assault and battery, and faced decades in jail. A plea agreement with Clark County prosecutors permitted him to plead guilty in 2019 to felony and misdemeanor battery, and a judge sentenced him to one to two and a half years in state prison.
According to William Quenga, a spokeswoman for the Nevada prison system, Foster arrived at a prison intake facility on Oct. 18, 2021, but was released the same day because the court considered into Foster’s punishment the 729 days he had spent in jail awaiting trial.
That meant Foster had fulfilled his minimum term but was still a half-year away from fulfilling the maximum punishment imposed by the judge.
On January 24, the victim in the Oregon case was discovered unconscious and tied near Grants Pass, Oregon. According to Grants Pass Police Lt. Jeff Hattersley, she was hospitalized in serious condition and has not recovered consciousness since.
The story has alarmed residents of Grants Pass, a 40,000-person hamlet in southwest Oregon near Interstate 5.
Foster nearly escaped a police raid in the adjacent unincorporated village of Wolf Creek, Oregon, on Thursday and may have changed his appearance by cutting his beard and hair or changing his hair color, according to authorities.
Police first issued a photo of Foster with shoulder-length brown hair, but he had cropped it and grown a fuller beard after the photo was taken. Hattersley believes he has changed his appearance more since then.
“We’re getting all kinds of calls about people walking along I-5, they have long beards and long hair,” Hattersley said. “We have a feeling that’s not really what he is looking like at this point.”
A $2,500 reward was offered by police on Friday for information leading to Foster’s arrest and conviction. According to Hattersley, none of the 50 or so suggestions that have come in since then, largely by phone, have been strong enough to lead to Foster, who is accused with attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault.
Grants Pass police, sheriff’s deputies, an Oregon State Police SWAT team, and federal agents participated in the Thursday night raid at Wolf Creek, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Grants Pass.
Foster, who was living on family property there, fled. The neighborhood is surrounded by forested mountains, but police suspect Foster had assistance getting out of the region rather than going alone into the wilderness.
“That’s why we put that out there,” he said. “We don’t want someone to unknowingly think that they’re meeting some great guy that’s actually a wanted felon that’s trying to get away.”
Foster held his then-girlfriend imprisoned inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks in 2019, before traveling to Oregon. He was initially charged with five crimes, including assault and battery, and if convicted, he risked decades in jail. Foster reached an agreement with Clark County prosecutors in August 2021 that permitted him to plead guilty to one felony count of battery and one misdemeanor count of battery involving domestic abuse.
According to Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman, it is “extremely troubling” that Foster is still free and able to prey on other women rather than being imprisoned for the Nevada crimes.
Credits: FOX 5 VEGAS
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