FBI still seeking other victims of Southern Oregon kidnapping suspect

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — A man arrested for kidnapping a woman and holding her in a cinderblock cell in Southern Oregon could have targeted sex workers in other states, the FBI said. They’re encouraging additional victims to come forward.

Negasi Zuberi picked up a woman in Seattle on July 15 and posed as a law enforcement officer taking her into custody, the FBI said. The 29-year-old sexually assaulted her while driving over 450 miles to Klamath Falls, Oregon, where he held her in a makeshift cinderblock cell in his garage, according to the FBI. The woman escaped and flagged someone down for help. Police arrested Zuberi on July 16.

On Monday, NBC News got an exclusive interview with Stephanie Shark with the FBI Portland Field Office. Shark said Zuberi had a tendency to target people who wouldn’t come forward and exercised fear to keep them silent.

“Based off the information that we have, sex workers were part of the population that he targeted,” Shark said, “but also other roommates, or other people he felt that didn’t have connections to anybody else.”

Zuberi has been in at least 10 states over the past several years. Police have linked Zuberi to four sexual assaults in at least four states. He lived in Vancouver, Washington starting in August 2022 and also spent time in Portland, Oregon before moving to Klamath Falls this past spring.

Police found a note at his home titled “operation take over.” The note appears to contain a small list of instructions including, “Make sure they don’t have a bunch of [people] in their life.”

“The note is one of the reasons why we believe that there could be more victims and one of the things that helps us understand what his intent is,” Shark said.

Shark said one of the challenges of investigating and prosecuting sex crimes is that the suspects “don’t always look like monsters.”

“A lot of them are the people next door and the people you’d never understand or believe would be capable of doing these things, which makes this case so shocking,” Shark said. “Nobody thinks their neighbor will have a cinderblock cell next door in a family neighborhood.”

She also said any additional victims are likely concerned about whether or not they will be believed, or if their cases will receive the same level of attention.

“They no longer need to be afraid. He is in custody, and we are ready to listen to support their truth and their experience and give light to it so that they can rewrite their own ending,” Shark said.

Anyone who thinks they were victimized by Zuberi, or anyone with information can call 1-800-CallFBI or go to the FBI’s website.

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