Kidnapping suspect Negasi Zuberi accused of trying to escape from jail

MEDFORD, Ore. – A man accused of kidnapping a woman in Seattle and putting her inside a makeshift cell in Klamath Falls tried to escape from jail.

The FBI said court records show on Saturday, July 15, 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi — also known as Justin Hyche and Justin Kouassi — traveled from his home in Klamath Falls to Seattle, where he sought out a prostitute and pretended to be an undercover officer. He allegedly pointed a taser at the prostitute, put her in handcuffs, leg irons, and put her in the back seat of his car before driving about 450 miles with the woman, sexually assaulting her during the trip.

The victim reported that once they arrived in Klamath Falls, Zuberi moved her into a makeshift cell he built in his garage.

Once Zuberi left the home, the victim was able to break the cell’s door open and escape. She was then able to flag down a passing motorist who called 9-1-1.

The Klamath Falls Police Department searched Zuberi’s home and found the cell as described by the victim.

Zuberi reportedly fled the area and was later found in Reno where he was arrested after a brief standoff. He’s now in federal custody.

On Monday, August 15, Zuberi appeared in federal court in Medford where he pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, including interstate kidnapping.

Zuberi’s trial date was officially set to start on October 17, 2023.

While awaiting trial, Zuberi was confined to the Jackson County Jail.

On August 24, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced Zuberi attempted to break of out the jail through an exterior window on August 22.

His attempt was unsuccessful, the sheriff’s office said, because the jail’s windows are made of reinforced glass. Zuberi was only able to damage the interior later of the window.

In addition to the federal charges, Zuberi now faces charges of second-degree attempted escape and first-degree disorderly conduct.

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