Neighbors react to scary Klamath Falls kidnapping case

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – We’re learning more about a scary kidnapping case in Klamath Falls that’s made national headlines.

29-year-old Negasi Zuberi is now in federal custody after the FBI says he kidnapped a woman in Seattle, drove over 400 miles to his home in Klamath Falls, and locked her in a makeshift cinder block cell in his garage.

The victim escaped, breaking down the door, and Zuberi was arrested in Reno, Nevada a day later after a standoff with police in a Walmart parking lot.

When police located him in Reno, he was in a car holding his son in the front seat talking to his partner outside the car.

After a 45-minute standoff, during which he refused to leave the car and cut himself with a sharp object causing him to bleed profusely, he was finally taken into custody.

Klamath Falls resident Melanie McClure lived next door to Zuberi and says she was very close with Zuberi’s partner.

McClure said his partner was completely blindsided.

“This is a shock to her as well, finding out about this,” McClure explained. “She’s trying to get her ducks in a row where her boys are going to live.”

McClure said Zuberi and his family moved into the neighborhood around February.

She didn’t know him well, but she did have one lasting interaction with him not long after they moved in.

McClure’s two dogs got into a fight in her front yard.

One of the dogs was suffocated in the fight and became unconscious.

Zuberi offered to help and sprang into action.

“Negasi gave Baxter, my smaller dog, chest compressions and brought him back,” McClure recalled. “I mean I was so appreciative and so thankful for him willing to step up and do that.”

McClure was shocked to find out the details of the case but also said there were definitely some red flags in how Zuberi interacted with his partner.

“To say that I’m surprised about the charges, yes I’m surprised,” McClure said. “But in the sense of the fact of disrespecting women, I am not surprised in what it’s rooted in and treating women like they are beneath.”

She’s not the only one looking back on her interactions with the suspect.

Just over the river from Portland in Vancouver, Washington, Zuberi’s former neighbor Danny Bratkov said he had a bad feeling about the 29-year-old.

“He did make some threats toward me that he’d stab me or kill me if he catches me outside somewhere,” Bratkov said.

Bratkov said he has cell phone video that he shot showing Zuberi yelling at him during a conflict outside in his Vancouver neighborhood.

“That night he was yelling at me he literally looked like a killer, his eyes, it was scary,” Bratkov said.

As for McClure, she said she is extremely relieved and now at peace to know that Zuberi is in custody and has faith in the FBI’s investigation.

“What is done in darkness will be brought to light, and that is part of what’s going on here, and I have full faith that it’s going to continue and all that’s been done will be brought to light,” McClure said.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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