Woman’s brave breakout from makeshift concrete cell may have prevented others from identical horror, asserts FBI

by Chloe Baker
Kidnapping Case

A woman in southern Oregon is being lauded for her courage by the FBI for escaping a kidnapper, having managed to break out from a self-made concrete cell. This brave act has potentially saved other women from experiencing the same trauma, as it led authorities to a suspect now believed to have committed sexual assaults across multiple states.

The woman’s captor, Negasi Zuberi, tricked her into believing he was an undercover cop to abduct her from Seattle. He then drove her hundreds of miles to his Klamath Falls home where he kept her locked in a garage-made cell. Despite the injury to her hands from the escape, her audacious breakout allowed the FBI to apprehend Zuberi.

Now 29, Zuberi is facing multiple federal charges including interstate kidnapping. The FBI is on the hunt for more potential victims after making connections between him and assaults in other states, which remain undisclosed.

Stephanie Shark, the assistant special agent leading the FBI’s Portland field office, commended the woman’s quick thinking and survival instinct, which could have protected other women from the same traumatic experience.

After her daring escape, Zuberi evaded authorities but was finally caught by state police in Reno, Nevada, the following day, according to the FBI.

At this time, Zuberi does not have legal representation and is waiting for a public defender in Oregon, as he is still being transported from Nevada. This process can take several weeks, as per Kevin Sonoff, a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Oregon.

Zuberi has been indicted by a Portland grand jury on charges of interstate kidnapping and transport across state lines for criminal sexual activity, which could land him a life sentence if convicted.

The FBI noted that Zuberi has assumed various aliases and has resided in multiple states since 2016, including California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, and Nevada.

Court documents reveal that Zuberi posed as a police officer to coerce the woman, known only as Adult Victim 1, into his vehicle before driving her to his home. He assaulted her along the way and then locked her in a cinder block cell.

Upon waking from a short sleep, the woman realized that she must escape to survive. She succeeded in breaking out of the cell and ran away with Zuberi’s firearm, eventually flagging down a passing vehicle to call for help.

Nevada State Patrol officers apprehended Zuberi in a Walmart parking lot in Reno the next day, while he was in his car with one of his children. He initially resisted arrest but later surrendered, and no harm came to his child.

Authorities have yet to comment on whether Zuberi’s wife or neighbors were aware of the woman’s abduction.

Investigation of Zuberi’s home revealed the woman’s belongings and handwritten notes, indicating premeditated criminal activity. The FBI believes Zuberi may have used drugs to control his victims and is urging anyone who suspects they might have been victimized to come forward.

The property in Klamath Falls where the crime took place is owned by the city’s mayor, Carol Westfall, and her husband, Kevin. The couple had Zuberi evicted following his arrest and commended the actions of the woman who helped catch him.

Johnson reported from Seattle with contributions from Big Big News writers Andrew Selsky and Rebecca Boone. Claire Rush, part of the Big Big News/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative, also contributed. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on underrepresented issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kidnapping Escape

Who is Negasi Zuberi?

Negasi Zuberi is a 29-year-old man facing federal charges of interstate kidnapping. He is suspected of having committed multiple sexual assaults across various states. He was apprehended by the police following a woman’s escape from a makeshift cell at his residence in Klamath Falls, southern Oregon.

What did the woman do that potentially saved others?

The woman, known only as Adult Victim 1, managed to escape a cinder block cell where she had been kept captive by Zuberi. She broke out of the cell, ran away with Zuberi’s firearm, and was able to get help. By escaping and reporting her ordeal, she alerted authorities to Zuberi, who they now suspect in sexual assaults in at least four more states.

Where was Negasi Zuberi captured?

Zuberi was apprehended by state police in a Walmart parking lot in Reno, Nevada, the day after the woman escaped from his home.

How did Negasi Zuberi trick the woman into his control?

Zuberi posed as an undercover police officer, showed the woman a badge, and told her he was arresting her. He handcuffed her, placed her in his vehicle, and drove her to his residence in Klamath Falls.

What charges does Negasi Zuberi face?

Zuberi faces multiple federal charges, including interstate kidnapping and transporting an individual across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.

More about Kidnapping Escape

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Billy_the_Kid August 3, 2023 - 3:56 pm

Just sickening! These kind of creeps don’t deserve to live in society. Lock him up and throw away the key.

MamaBear101 August 3, 2023 - 6:05 pm

As a mother, my heart aches for that brave girl. Hope she gets all the support and help she needs to heal from this horrific experience.

Joanne52 August 3, 2023 - 8:01 pm

Oh my god! Such a brave woman. Can’t even begin to imagine the horror she must have gone through… She’s a real-life hero for sure!

JusticeSeeker007 August 3, 2023 - 11:41 pm

More power to her. Glad that monster Zuberi is behind bars now. But the FBI needs to dig deeper, who knows how many victims he might have had.

CalmDove August 4, 2023 - 5:29 am

it’s scary that people like him exist. My thoughts are with all his victims. Hoping justice is served quickly and he never sees the light of day again.


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