A woman's biggest nightmare when it comes to dating isn't that "he" looks ten years older than his profile photos or gossip about his ex. Those are the usual disappointments. The biggest fear is running into a psychopath like Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho". And that's exactly what seems to be happening in the US right now. A man charged with tying up and torturing women evades manhunt via a dating app. Police fear Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, will use this to find a new shelter and victim.
His latest victim was found Tuesday in Grants Pass, Oregon. The woman was unconscious, bound and nearly dead when she was freed and taken to hospital. Foster is said to have taken the woman into his power on Monday evening and then tortured her. On Tuesday, a friend of the victim was concerned because he hadn't heard from the woman for hours. So he went to her house and probably saved her life that way.
The perpetrator fled immediately. "It's clear he wanted to kill her," local police officer Lieutenant Hattersley said at a news conference on Friday. "I have been in law enforcement for 32 years and this is one of the most heinous and horrifying cases I have ever seen." At the time, the woman could not be questioned because she was unresponsive due to her injuries.
On Thursday, the town sheriff and a SWAT team from the Oregon State Police almost caught Foster. He was staying in the house of an elderly woman, but he managed to escape into the woods before he was apprehended. He is said to have been friends with the woman. It is unclear whether the woman knew he was being searched for or whether she was unaware. Grants Pass Police believe she knowingly helped him and took her into custody.
Police said Foster "is actively using online dating apps to contact unsuspecting individuals who may be tricked into helping the suspect escape, or possibly as additional victims." Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman called it "extremely disturbing" that Foster is at large at all. In 2019, he held his then-girlfriend captive in Las Vegas for two weeks. The woman was badly mauled. He had tied her up and forced her to drink bleach and always choked her, the woman said. To humiliate her, he shaved her head. The victim suffered internal burns from the bleaching. She also had seven broken ribs, two swollen eyes and injuries from being tied up with zip ties and tape. In a moment of inattention, the victim was able to escape from Foster.
Foster was charged with five serious crimes. For almost two years, however, there was no trial. Then there was a deal with the prosecutor. Foster pleaded guilty to two minor offenses. He was sentenced to just two-and-a-half years in prison, served with pre-trial detention, for battery -- a form of unlawful touching -- and a count of domestic violence. A trial for another case of domestic violence in 2018 was also dropped. Grants Pass police believe the perpetrator was armed and "extremely dangerous."
Sources: NYT, NBC