Oregon torture suspect killed two people before taking his own life, police say
The man accused of torturing a woman he held captive in Southern Oregon last week died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after an hours-long standoff, police confirmed Wednesday. Benjamin Foster was also suspected of killing two people in the days before his death, police revealed.
Police discovered the site of the double homicide Tuesday in the same area where Foster had eluded capture last Thursday, police said at a Wednesday press conference. The two victims, identified by police as Richard Lee Barron Jr. and Donald Owen Griffith, appear to have died as a result of blunt force trauma, police said. There are no other suspects in their deaths other than Foster, police said.
Police believe they were killed sometime between 3:30 p.m. Monday and 7:10 a.m. Tuesday. As of Wednesday, police were not aware of any connection between Foster and the two homicide victims.
Several items, including a dog, were missing from the site of the killings, police said.
Police on Tuesday received a tip from a cab company that Foster was believed to have taken a cab from around Wolf Creek to Grants Pass at about 7 a.m., a roughly 20-mile ride.
Law enforcement located him in Grants Pass, the same place where Foster was accused of torturing a woman, and on Tuesday released a photo of him walking a dog in the area. A standoff at the home where the woman was found ensued. Throughout the standoff, Foster was resistant to law enforcement's efforts to communicate with him, police said Wednesday.
The standoff ended when Foster, who had "burrowed deep underneath the home," shot himself in the head, police said. Police had to pry open the house's floorboards in order to get to Foster, police said, but when they finally reached him, he was still breathing.
Foster was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead "within an hour or two," police said.
Foster had been the subject of an intensive manhunt in southwestern Oregon after a woman was found unconscious, bound and near death in a house in Grants Pass on Jan. 24. On Wednesday, she remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Police on Wednesday said that she and Foster had previously been in a "former domestic relationship."
Police said Wednesday that the woman was found after a "very concerned friend" had gone to check on her.
Last Thursday night, local and federal law enforcement agents raided a property in the unincorporated community of Wolf Creek and seized Foster's car. They arrested 68-year-old Tina Marie Jones for hindering prosecution in the raid, but Foster managed to escape.
Police said Wednesday that Foster had "connections in that area," but would not elaborate on the nature of those connections, or how exactly he managed to escape.
In 2019, before moving to Oregon, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks. He reached a deal with Clark County prosecutors in August 2021 that allowed him to plead guilty to one felony count of battery and a misdemeanor count of 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 had spent in jail awaiting trial, Foster could have been made to serve almost 200 additional days in state custody under the maximum sentence. Instead, he was released the day he was brought to prison, Nevada corrections department officials said on Monday.
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