After a woman escaped from a cinder block “dungeon” in an Oregon man’s home, the FBI said it was searching for more victims in other states.
According to a press statement from the FBI Portland Field Office, 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi was arrested on federal kidnapping charges after a woman from Seattle fled from his house in Klamath Falls, Oregon. According to the FBI, the woman also claimed she was the victim of a s*xual assault.
Since 2016, Zuberi has reportedly lived in at least ten different states, and the FBI has tied him to four separate violent assaults. The agency stated that investigators have cause to think there may be further victims.
According to court documents released on Wednesday, an Oregon grand jury indicted him on one count of kidnapping and one count of transportation with intent to engage in s*xual behavior. Heather Fraley, Zuberi’s attorney, told CNN on Wednesday that she had no comment.
The tweet below verifies the news:
A woman escaped a makeshift cinder block ‘dungeon’ in Oregon, police say. The FBI believes there are more victims in other stateshttps://t.co/tvQx4SkBtN
— MSN (@MSN) August 3, 2023
According to the FBI’s press release, Zuberi left his residence in Klamath Falls on July 15 and went to Seattle, where he posed as a police officer in order to hire a prostitute. The FBI claims that the victim told them that Zuberi waved a Taser at her before putting her in handcuffs and leg irons and putting her in the trunk of his car.
According to a press statement from the Klamath Falls Police Department, Zuberi “told the victim she was under arrest.” According to the victim’s report, Zuberi was armed with a gun, police patches, a taser, and other equipment.
According to the news release, the girl told investigators that he s*xually assaulted her on the way back to his home in Klamath Falls, more than 450 miles away.
According to an affidavit seen by CNN, the woman noticed that, at one point in the trip, the suspect’s smartphone’s map program showed that they were two hours and four minutes away from their intended location. The victim “knew at that point that Zuberi was not a police officer and that she was being kidnapped,” the document said.
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The FBI claims that when he arrived at the house, he confined the woman in “a makeshift cell he had constructed in his garage” using cinder blocks and a metal door. According to the press release, the woman told authorities that she was able to escape her cell by continually banging on the door.
“The victim said she knew Zuberi would kill her if she stayed in the room,” police said. “The victim began punching the security screen door. The victim was able to break the welds on the screen door and pull the metal screen material down. The victim then climbed through a small opening in the door and escaped.”
According to the FBI, the woman flagged down a passing driver, who then dialed emergency services. Detectives from the Klamath Falls Police Department went to the hospital where she was being treated after receiving a report of a rape victim. According to the affidavit, police found “blood on the wooden fence” that the woman had used to escape.
A few hours later, detectives reportedly used smartphone technology to locate Zuberi, and they eventually took him into custody following a brief standoff in Reno, Nevada. According to the affidavit, Zuberi was arrested in the Walmart parking lot.
“Due to the real possibility this was not Zuberi’s first crime of this nature the FBI was requested,” police said. Affidavit says that on July 16, police searched Zuberi’s garage with a warrant and found the improvised jail and other items, including the victim’s pocketbook. The FBI claims the suspect preyed on s*x workers and housemates.
“We are fortunate that this brave woman escaped and alerted authorities,” Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Shark said in the release. “While she may have helped protect future victims, sadly we have now linked Zuberi to several violent assaults in at least four states and we believe there may be many more.
Between August 2016 and July 2023, the FBI believes Zuberi targeted sex workers or roommates in the states of California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, and Nevada.
According to the FBI, Zuberi (who also goes by the names Sakima, Justin Hyche, and Justin Kouassi) “violently sexually assaults” his victims after using a variety of tactics, including putting drugs in their drinks, posing as a police officer, and enlisting the help of s*x workers.
“Some of the encounters may have been filmed to make it appear as if the assault was consensual,” the FBI said. “The victims are threatened with retaliation if they notify the police.” The FBI is looking for more potential victims and information regarding Zuberi, and they need the public’s assistance in their search.
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