Trial date set for man accused of holding woman in cinderblock cell

MEDFORD, Ore. – A trial date has been set for the man accused of kidnapping a woman in Seattle and putting her inside a makeshift cell in Klamath Falls.

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.

The FBI said Zuberi has lived in ten states over the last ten years and investigators have reason to believe he could have additional sexual assault victims.

According to the FBI, victims may know Zuberi by the name “Sakima” and it’s believed he used different methods to gain control of his victims including drugging their drinks and impersonating a police officer.

If you believe you have been a victim or have any information concerning Zuberi, call the FBI Portland Field Office at 503-224-4181.

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