Ex-partner of accused kidnapper Nagasi Zuberi defends him

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (CNN/KPTV) – Negasi Zuberi has made national headlines after the FBI in Portland alleged he kidnapped a woman in Seattle, sexually assaulted her, drove her to Klamath Falls, and imprisoned her in this makeshift cinderblock cell.

The FBI says the kidnapping happened in the early hours of Saturday, July 15.

Zuberi’s ex-partner says she didn’t hear or see anything that night and that Zuberi told her he was going to Seattle to look at potential rental properties.

Negasi Zuberi’s ex-partner is still currently living in the home in Klamath Falls where the FBI alleges Zuberi held a woman captive in a cinderblock cell.

Zuberi’s ex-partner asked KPTV to not show her face or reveal her name to protect the privacy of her and their two young children. She denies the allegations presented by the FBI against the father of her children and claims she has no idea the alleged kidnapping took place.

KPTV’s Adrian Thomas asked the ex-partner, “So the FBI is alleging that all of this happened on July 15 that Negassi brought a woman that he kidnapped in Seattle her and imprisoned her, what did you see that day?”

She replied, “Honestly, I went to bed on Friday night, I was watching TV. I fell asleep on the couch and then I woke up and went to the room and I feel asleep. And then I noticed that he came home and came into the room, I was kind of surprised, and I was like ‘Oh you’re back already,’ and then he left and I was like I’m going back to sleep. I woke up maybe around 9:00 and I just ask him for the car key to go to Walmart. I went to Walmart then came back and then me and my kids planned to go swimming. We didn’t get to do that because of everything that was going on.”

Zuberi’s ex-partner said she didn’t hear any commotion that night even, though the FBI claims the kidnapping victim escaped from the makeshift cell in the garage by banging so hard on a metal door that she broke through it, and ran away on foot.

She later flagged down a passing driver for help, was rushed to the hospital and led authorities to Zuberi’s home.

When Zuberi’s ex-partner returned home from Walmart, law enforcement had already arrived and were questioning a person who sublet a room in the house from them.

She said that same person alerted Zuberi to what was happening and found out he had already left town.

The woman tells me she met up with Zuberi the next day in Nevada, after he asked her to meet him on the road.

She said, “He told me he was going to go to Alabama and wait until everything settled down to see what was going on.”

After they met up, the FBI found the couple outside a Walmart in Reno and arrested Zuberi following a long standoff where agents say he cut himself severely while holding one of his children on his lap, and tried to destroy his phone.

Zuberi’s ex-partner wouldn’t share many details about the arrest, other than it was a shock to her and the children, who later made their way back to Klamath Falls on a bus.

That same day, Klamath Falls police served a search warrant where they discovered what appears to be a makeshift cinderblock cell. Zuberi’s ex-partner claims, this is a misunderstanding.

Adrian Thomas said, “This cinderblock structure in the garage that…”

“It’s not a cinderblock, it’s a room,” she said. “They keep saying it’s a cinderblock. It’s a room he’s just trying to expand.”

“So you’re saying he’s building out a room, the FBI is saying it’s a makeshift prison cell,” Thomas said. “What do you have to say to that?”

“That’s a lie. It’s a lie. He never ever ever, everywhere I know him, he never ever build something like that. All he was trying to do was expand subleasing.”

Law enforcement also discovered these disturbing notes they allege were written by Zuberi, one page titled “Operation Takeover.”

His ex-partner wouldn’t comment specifically on the notes but said she could never imagine the kidnapping and imprisonment that the FBI alleges took place.

“One thing I know he would never bring anybody to his home where his own kids live, sleep, where he has tenants coming in and out,” she said. “His garage, right here, wide open.”

Zuberi’s ex-partner at one point showed us what was in the garage. We didn’t see much other than some foam insulation.

She told us the structure the FBI alleges was a makeshift prison cell has since been taken down. Through tears, she tells us regardless of what the court proceedings look like, she stands behind the father of her children.

“He’s a good person, that’s all I know,” she said. “He helped my kids, he helped me when I needed help. He even helped me apply for school, apply for FAFSA. Even if we didn’t get along he was helping me. It is sad that he is being accused. That’s not who he is that’s not who I have kids with. This is not the guy they portray him to be. This is not his legacy, this man has dreams.”

On July 26, Negasi Zuberi made his first appearance in front of a federal judge in Nevada. He remains in custody and will be extradited to Oregon where he will appear in federal court.

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