Man Accused of Abducting Woman Tries to Escape: Cops

Negasi Zuberi, 29, now faces new charges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2023 5:11 AM CDT
Updated Aug 28, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
FBI: Kidnap Victim Escaped From Makeshift Cell
This undated photo provided by the FBI's Portland Field Office shows Negasi Zuberi.   (FBI via AP)
UPDATE Aug 28, 2023 12:30 AM CDT

The man accused of abducting a woman and holding her captive in a makeshift cell apparently doesn't like the view from inside his own jail cell. Negasi Zuberi, 29, who is being held in Oregon's Jackson County Jail on a federal interstate kidnapping charge, now also faces charges of second-degree attempted escape and first-degree disorderly conduct, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. After a maintenance worker reported hearing a strange sound coming from inside a cell Tuesday afternoon, authorities found Zuberi allegedly standing on his bed near a chipped window in the cell, NBC News reports. Police found a tool they believe Zuberi improvised to damage the interior of the window. He is now in a cell without windows.

Aug 3, 2023 5:11 AM CDT

The FBI says a kidnapping victim's "quick thinking and will to survive may have saved other women from a similar nightmare." Investigators say Negasi Zuberi, a suspect arrested in Nevada last month, posed as an undercover police officer to kidnap a prostitute in Seattle, NBC News reports. With the woman in handcuffs and leg irons in the back of the car, he then drove 450 miles to his rented home in Klamath Falls, Oregon, sexually assaulting her along the way, the FBI says. He then allegedly imprisoned her in a makeshift cell made of cinder blocks in the home's garage.

A criminal complaint states that the victim "briefly slept and awoke to the realization that she would likely die if she did not attempt to escape." She beat her hands bloody punching the cell's metal door until some its welded joints broke open, and then climbed out through a small opening and flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911, investigators say. "We are fortunate that this brave woman escaped and alerted authorities," Stephanie Shark with the FBI's Portland office said in a press release. "While she may have helped protect future victims, sadly we have now linked Zuberi to additional violent sexual assaults in at least four states and there could be more."

story continues below

Zuberi, 29, was arrested in Reno the next day. Investigators say officers found him in a Walmart parking lot with his family. According to the criminal complaint, he refused to leave the vehicle, "cut himself with a sharp object causing him to bleed profusely," and tried to destroy his phone. He was arrested after a 45-minute standoff. the AP reports. He faces federal charges including interstate kidnapping. Investigators looking for additional victims say Zuberi used multiple aliases and lived in 10 states over the last decade. Investigators say a search of the Oregon home uncovered chilling notes about "Operation Take Over," including, "Make sure they don't have a bunch of ppl (sic) in their life. You don't want any type of investigation." (More kidnapping stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.