SALEM, Oregon (AP) — A violent kidnapping suspect in Oregon — a man who spent little time behind bars for a similar crime in Nevada — killed two men before being cornered by officers and fatally shooting himself, he said police Wednesday.
Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, died in hospital Tuesday night, hours after shooting himself while hiding in a crawl space under a house in Grants Pass. At a press conference the next day, law enforcement revealed details of the intense manhunt for Foster, including the discovery of the two men’s bodies in a rural area north of Grants Pass.
Richard Lee Barron Jr. and Donald Owen Griffith were killed between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, Oregon State Police Captain Kyle Kennedy said.
The men lived together in the unincorporated community of Sunny Valley and apparently did not know Foster, who according to police left a gruesome scene and stole some of the victims’ belongings, including their dog.
Foster was seen walking a dog in Grants Pass on Tuesday, according to police.
He had been the subject of a manhunt after a woman was found unconscious, bound and near death at a home in Grants Pass on January 24. Authorities say Foster tortured the woman, who remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday.
Foster narrowly escaped a raid Thursday in the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek, and police warned the public the next day that he was using dating apps to find people who could help him avoid authorities or find new victims.
Foster was later seen Tuesday in the same neighborhood where the woman was found. He barricaded himself under the same house where the police arrived in force. Foster then shot himself, was taken into custody and died in a hospital, police said.
In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive in her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks. Lui reached a settlement with Clark County prosecutors in August 2021 that allowed him to plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of misdemeanor battery constituting domestic violence.
A judge sentenced Foster to between one and 2 1/2 years in a Nevada prison. After factoring in the 729 days he spent in jail awaiting trial, Foster could have served nearly 200 more days under his maximum sentence. Instead, he was released the day he was taken to jail, according to Nevada Department of Corrections officials.
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said last week it was “extremely concerning” that Foster ended up wanted for attempted murder in Oregon instead of being convicted in Nevada.
The attack on the woman and the subsequent pursuit by local, state and federal agents rocked the residents of Grants Pass, a town of approximately 40,000 people in southwestern Oregon.