FBI Searching for Additional Potential Victims Following Woman’s Escape from Confinement in Oregon

by Chloe Baker
Kidnapping in Oregon

A man claiming to be an undercover police officer kidnapped a woman from Seattle and transported her across hundreds of miles to his residence in Oregon, where he locked her up in a concrete cell. She eventually managed to escape by battering down the door until her hands were bruised and bloody, the FBI announced on Wednesday.

Negasi Zuberi, 29, is now facing charges of interstate kidnapping at a federal level. After establishing a link between Zuberi and several violent sexual assaults in four additional states, the authorities have launched a search for more victims.

In a press release, Stephanie Shark, the Deputy Special Agent overseeing the FBI’s Portland division, stated, “This woman was abducted, shackled, sexually violated, and imprisoned in a concrete cell. To escape, she battered the door with her bare hands until they bled. Her fast-thinking survival instincts may have prevented other women from experiencing similar horrors.”

After the woman managed to escape from his residence in Klamath Falls, Zuberi fled the small southern Oregon city of approximately 22,000 residents but was apprehended by state police in Reno, Nevada, the following afternoon, according to the FBI. There are no court records indicating an attorney representing Zuberi.

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The FBI reported that Zuberi has used several aliases, including Sakima, Justin Hyche, and Justin Kouassi, and has resided in numerous states since 2016, potentially including California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, and Nevada.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Oregon, Zuberi lured the woman, referred to only as “Adult Victim 1”, into engaging in prostitution in Seattle’s Aurora Avenue, a known area for sex work, in the early hours of July 15. Zuberi then showed her a badge, identifying himself as an undercover officer, threatened her with a stun gun, and handcuffed her before putting her in the back of his vehicle.

Zuberi transported the woman to his residence in Oregon, sexually assaulting her en route. Upon arrival, roughly seven hours after their initial meeting in Seattle, he imprisoned her in a makeshift cell built in his garage made of concrete blocks and a metal bar door, stating that he was leaving to complete paperwork.

According to the complaint, the woman woke up after a brief sleep, realizing that she needed to escape or she would likely die. She began pounding on the metal door and was able to break some of the welded joints to create an opening through which she escaped, Klamath Police Captain Rob Reynolds reported in a press conference.

Upon escaping the cell, she discovered Zuberi’s vehicle in the garage, took his gun, and fled, leaving blood on a wooden fence she climbed over to escape. She managed to stop a passing driver, who contacted 911.

The next day, Nevada State Patrol officers found Zuberi in a Walmart parking lot in Reno. He was holding one of his children in his car, talking to his wife standing outside the vehicle. He initially refused to comply with the officers, cutting himself with a sharp object and attempting to destroy his phone, but he eventually surrendered. The child was unharmed.

The FBI suggests that Zuberi may have also used drugs to control women and has set up a website urging anyone who believes they may have been victimized to come forward.

The rental house in Klamath Falls, where Zuberi allegedly took the woman, is owned by Mayor Carol Westfall and her husband, Kevin, as per property records. The house is located on a residential street, adjacent to a park and less than a quarter-mile from a highway.

Following Zuberi’s arrest, court records show the Westfalls had him evicted.

“We are both shocked and appalled by these events,” the Westfalls expressed in an email. “We commend the woman whose brave actions led to the capture of this individual, preventing him from causing further harm.”

The Westfalls expressed their appreciation for the efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement in handling this case but declined to comment on their interactions with Zuberi.

Reporting from Seattle was provided by Johnson. Additional contributions came from Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon, and Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kidnapping in Oregon

Who is the main suspect in this case?

The main suspect in this case is 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi, who is facing a federal interstate kidnapping charge.

How was the woman able to escape?

The woman was able to escape by repeatedly punching the metal door of her cell until some of its welded joints broke, creating a small opening through which she climbed out.

What connection does the suspect have with other states?

The suspect, Negasi Zuberi, has lived in multiple states since 2016 and authorities have linked him to violent sexual assaults in at least four more states.

How was the suspect apprehended?

The suspect was apprehended by Nevada State Patrol officers in a Walmart parking lot in Reno, Nevada, the day after the woman escaped.

What actions are the FBI taking to find more potential victims?

The FBI is setting up a website urging anyone who believes they may have been victimized by the suspect to come forward.

Who owns the house where the victim was held captive?

The house where the victim was held captive is a rental property in Klamath Falls, Oregon, owned by the city’s Mayor, Carol Westfall, and her husband, Kevin.

More about Kidnapping in Oregon

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LegalEagle August 3, 2023 - 12:08 am

fed kidnapping charge, that’s no joke. If convicted, this guy’s looking at a long time in prison, and rightly so.

RandomGuy47 August 3, 2023 - 6:35 am

And the mayor owns the house?! Talk bout a PR nightmare…

UnbreakableJane August 3, 2023 - 6:47 am

The woman’s bravery and quick thinking is remarkable. she turned a horrible ordeal into an opportunity to catch this predator. Respect!

SarahJ August 3, 2023 - 9:50 am

Can’t believe such monsters exist, that poor woman. I hope she gets the help she needs and the justice she deserves!

MikeD92 August 3, 2023 - 4:57 pm

wow, this is crazy! I mean, who would expect such a horror to happen in a small town in Oregon… Stay safe, folks.

DoubtingTom August 3, 2023 - 6:07 pm

something seems off… how did he have time to travel to so many states and commit such crimes?

LovingMom August 3, 2023 - 7:20 pm

My heart breaks for the child involved. Imagine finding out your father is a monster. hope the kid gets the support they need.


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