GRANTS PASS, Ore. (TCD) — A man who was on the run for a week for allegedly kidnapping and torturing a woman and leaving her in critical condition and killing two men died Tuesday night after a “lengthy standoff.”
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman confirmed Wednesday, Feb. 1, that Benjamin Foster died following a long manhunt that involved several law enforcement agencies on the local, state, and federal levels.
The search for Foster began Tuesday, Jan. 24, when Grants Pass Police went to the 2100 block of Shane Way about an assault and located a woman “who had been bound and severely beaten into unconsciousness.”
She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where she remains.
Police identified Foster as the suspect and said he was wanted on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and assault. He was considered armed and “extremely dangerous.”
On the night of Jan. 26, Grants Pass Police, Oregon State Police SWAT, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, and other federal law enforcement agencies executed a searched warrant at a residence on the 1300 block of Sunny Valley Loop in hopes of finding Foster. Police said a “lengthy manhunt” ensued, but Foster “evaded capture and likely received assistance in fleeing the area.”
Investigators located his vehicle at the scene and arrested 68-year-old Tina Marie Jones for hindering prosecution.
Grants Pass Police said they believed Foster used dating apps to “contact unsuspecting individuals who may be lured into assisting with the suspect’s escape or potentially as additional victims.”
According to the Josephine County Sheriff, on Monday, Jan. 30, deputies were going door to door conducting welfare checks in the Sunny Valley area after receiving a tip from a cab company. The Sheriff said deputies discovered a double homicide scene “near the location where [Foster] was initially holed up.”
Oregon State Police said the two victims, Richard Lee Barron Jr. and Donald Owen Griffith, died from suspected homicidal violence. Capt. Kennedy with Oregon State Police said the two men likely suffered blunt force trauma and that it was a “brutal scene.”
Foster allegedly took personal property, including a dog, from Griffith and Barron’s home. Grants Pass Police said Jan. 31 Foster was seen walking around the neighborhood with a small dog.
According to Hensman, Foster went back to the home where the Jan. 24 crime occurred. Law enforcement were immediately deployed to the scene and alerted residents within a half-mile radius to shelter in place.
Hensman said Foster “did not want to communicate with police” during the standoff. Foster reportedly “burrowed” himself under the home and was armed. Hensman said the SWAT team had to be “methodical” in their approach to reaching him.
Hensman “anticipated a gunfight at the end” of the standoff with Foster, but Foster shot himself with a .45-caliber weapon.
The team went into “recovery mode” and worked to extract him from under the house to get him to a hospital.
“He was dug deep,” Hensman said. “We literally had to cut into the floorboards to get him out.”
Foster was reportedly still holding his gun when police reached him, and they saw he was still breathing. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was “pronounced dead almost immediately.”
Hensman said Foster and the Jan. 24 victim were in a “former domestic relationship,” but did not elaborate. Foster is also the sole suspect in the deaths of Griffith and Barron.
Foster previously served time in a Nevada prison for domestic violence charges. He was charged in October 2019 with kidnapping, battery with substantial bodily harm, battery constituting domestic violence, and assault with a deadly weapon. He eventually pleaded guilty to battery with substantial bodily harm and battery constituting domestic violence. He received 729 days of days served and reportedly spent less than 200 days in prison.
Hensman told reporters at the press conference, “This was a long, arduous task. It ended with Benjamin Foster taking his own life.”