Oregon Man Wanted in Torture of Woman Killed 2 People, Police Say

An Oregon man sought by the authorities in the brutal torture of a woman last week also killed two men before he fatally shot himself in a standoff with the police on Tuesday night, officials said.

The man, Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, who worked as a bartender in Grants Pass, Ore., was accused last week of kidnapping a woman and severely beating her in her own home, where she was found, bound and unconscious, on Jan. 24, the authorities said.

They said they also believed that Mr. Foster was responsible for the beating deaths of Richard L. Barron, 73, and Donald O. Griffith, 64, who were found dead on Monday at their home in Sunny Valley, about 20 miles north of Grants Pass. The police said they were unaware of any connection between Mr. Foster and the two men.

The woman, whose name and age were not released but who the police say had previously been in a “domestic relationship” with Mr. Foster, remains hospitalized in critical, but stable, condition, the authorities said at a news conference on Wednesday.

ImageBenjamin Obadiah FosterCredit…Grants Pass Police Department, via Associated Press

After a week that frustrated law enforcement officials and stirred anxiety in rural areas, the authorities learned through a tip and video footage on Tuesday that Mr. Foster was back at the home where he had abused the woman.

Mr. Foster did not want to communicate with the police, and instead burrowed himself underneath the home, Chief Warren Hensman of the Grants Pass Police Department said at the news conference.

“Foster took his own life with what appears to be a single gunshot wound to the head with a .45-caliber weapon,” Chief Hensman said. Mr. Foster was still breathing when officers were able to get to him, the chief said, and was taken to a medical facility, where he was pronounced dead “almost immediately.”

At the news conference, the authorities described how they had struggled during the manhunt.

On Jan. 26, two days after the beaten woman was found, the police got a tip that Mr. Foster was at a home in Sunny Valley. But, Chief Hensman said, he had “slipped out” and evaded capture.

Then, on Monday, while conducting door-to-door welfare checks in the region, the authorities found the bodies of Mr. Griffith and Mr. Barron. Their deaths were ruled homicides, the authorities said, adding that they had died from “blunt force trauma.” It is unclear when the two were killed. Some items were missing from the home, according to the authorities, including a dog.

“We have no outstanding suspects in relation to the deaths of Mr. Barron and Mr. Griffith,” Dave Daniel, the Josephine County Sheriff, said at the news conference. “We believe that those are related to Benjamin Foster at this time.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Foster traveled back to the home where he had abused the woman in Grants Pass, the authorities said, and where he ultimately ended up in the standoff with police officers.

The case involving Mr. Foster had been described by officials in Grants Pass as one of the most disturbing they had ever seen in the small city of about 39,000 in southern Oregon, where homes are surrounded by forests. It drew particular concern after officials said Mr. Foster might have been using dating apps either to target more victims or to force someone to help him elude capture. The authorities later clarified that, saying they did not believe he had used the apps to actively recruit or manipulate anyone.

Investigators had used police dogs to search for Mr. Foster in the woods last week, and Lt. Jeff Hattersley of the Grants Pass Police Department said in an interview on Friday that officers had exhaustively looked into every tip or lead about his whereabouts.

On Jan. 26, the authorities found Mr. Foster’s car in Wolf Creek, a neighboring unincorporated community in Josephine County. That evening, the police also arrested Tina Marie Jones, who investigators believe hid Mr. Foster and helped him evade officers. She was charged with two counts of hindering prosecution, Lieutenant Hattersley said.

A friend of the victim who had been concerned about not hearing from her in hours walked to her home on Jan. 24 and “interrupted” the torture that Mr. Foster had been inflicting, Lieutenant Hattersley said in the interview.

Mr. Foster had faced similar criminal charges before in Las Vegas, where he attended a university.

In 2019, according to The Associated Press, Mr. Foster held a girlfriend captive inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks, beating her severely.

Prosecutors in Clark County, Nev., reached a deal with Mr. Foster at the time, allowing him to plead guilty to one felony count of battery and one misdemeanor count of battery constituting domestic violence, The A.P. reported.

April Rubin contributed reporting.