A man in Oregon was arrested after posing as a police officer to kidnap, sexually assault, and imprison a woman inside a jail cell made from cinder blocks.
The unidentified victim ‘fought for her life’ to escape the clutches of a kidnapper who drove her over 450 miles across the country, the FBI said on Wednesday.
The suspect was identified as Negasi Zuberi, a 29-year-old who also goes by the names Sakima, Justin Hyche, and Justin Kouassi.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Stephanie Shark said Zuberi was responsible for an ‘ongoing and escalating pattern of violence targeting women in multiple states across the country.’
‘Sadly, we believe there are more victims,’ Shark told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
The first victim was only identified in a criminal complaint against Zuberi as ‘Adult Victim 1,’ or AV1.
Investigators said she met Zuberi on Aurora Avenue in Seattle, an area frequented by sex workers.
‘At the completion of sexual intercourse, Zuberi claimed to be an undercover police officer and showed AV1 a badge,’ the criminal complaint states.
He told the victim that he was going to take her into custody, and pointed a taser at her. He moved her into the back seat of his car and restrained her with handcuffs and leg irons.
At that point, Zuberi began driving back to his home in Oregon – over 450 miles away.
‘AV1 observed that Zuberi was 2 hours and 4 minutes away from his destination,’ the criminal complaint reads. ‘AV1 knew at that point that Zuberi was not a police officer and she was being kidnapped.’
Zuberi assaulted the victim several more times on the road to Klamath Falls.
When he arrived at his hoem in southern Oregon, Zuberi placed the victim inside a homemade cell in his garage. He locked the door and told her he had paperwork to complete.
According to Special Agent Shark, the victim was placed in a ‘makeshift cinderblock cell with a metal door and a single lightbulb for light.’
‘AV1 briefly slept and awoke to the realization that she would likely die if she did not attempt to escape,’ the criminal complaint against Zuberi states.
‘Police say she beat the door with her hands until they were bloody in order to break free,’ Special Agent Shark said. ‘Her quick thinking and will to survive may have saved other women from a similar nightmare.’
The victim was able to break open the metal door with just her fists. She was able to climb over a fence in Zuberi’s yard, then flag down a passing motorists to call 911.
Zubari was taken into custody the next day in Reno, Nevada.
When Nevada State Patrol Officers conftonted Zuberi, he was sitting in a Walmart parking lot, speaking to his wife. He was holding one of his children on his lap.
According to the criminal complaint, Zuberi ‘refused to exit the vehicle and cut himself with a sharp object causing him to bleed profusely.’
The complaint also says Zuberi tried to destroy his phone as officers arrested him.
Zuberi was arrested and detained in Reno. He has since been transferred to the custody of the US Marshals, who are moving him to a facility in Medford, Oregon.
Investigations have since been opened in other states where Zuberi once resided, including Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, and Florida
‘To date, Zuberi has been linked to at least four sexual assaults in four other states,’ Special Agent Shark said. ‘We believe there may be more victims.’
Shark said that Zuberi appears to have gained control of his victims by drugging their drinks or impersonating a police officer.
The FBI has since launched a seeking victims website to help identify other victims.
Zuberi has been charged with one count of interstate kidnapping. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
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