The torture suspect who shot himself after he was cornered by police Tuesday night was also a murder suspect, police say. Officials said Wednesday that they believe Benjamin Obadiah Foster beat Richard Lee Barron Jr., 73, and Donald Owen Griffith, 64, to death at a home in a rural area north of Grants Pass early this week, the New York Times reports. Their bodies were found when police were conducting door-to-door welfare checks in the unincorporated community of Sunny Valley. Barron and Owen lived together and police do not believe they had any previous connection to Foster.
Police believe the men were killed some time between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Police said Foster left a gruesome scene at the home and stole some of the victims' belongings, including a dog, the AP reports. "We believe blunt force trauma was the means used in this," said Oregon State Police Capt. Kyle Kennedy, per NBC. "It’s a brutal scene." Foster was seen walking a dog in Grants Pass on Tuesday.
Police said Wednesday that Foster, who had been logging in to dating apps while on the run, was cornered after they received a tip that he was back at the Grants Pass home where he had tortured a woman and held her captive. He burrowed under the home and shot himself in the head, police said. The 36-year-old was pronounced dead at a hospital after police cut through floorboards to remove him. Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said the woman, who had been in a former domestic relationship with Foster, is still in critical condition. He said she had been tortured "for a protracted period of time" before she was found at the home on Jan. 24. (Read more Oregon stories.)