PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The FBI held a press conference Wednesday morning while investigators look for potential victims of a violent sex offender who they say kidnapped and sexually assaulted a woman and kept her in a makeshift cinderblock cell in his Klamath Falls home.
The FBI announced that 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi — also known as Sakima, Justin Hyche and Justin Kouassi — is in federal custody for the interstate kidnapping after a woman escaped from his home.
The FBI is looking for additional potential victims as Zuberi has ties to 10 states.
On Saturday, July 15, 2023, Zuberi traveled from his Klamath Falls, Oregon, home to Seattle, where he solicited a prostitute then posed as an undercover police officer, according to court documents.
The victim told investigators that Zuberi pointed a taser at her and put her in handcuffs and leg irons in the back seat of his car, then driving about 450 miles with the woman and sexually assaulting her, authorities said.
The woman said once they arrived at the Klamath Falls home, he put her into a makeshift cell in the garage made of cinder blocks. It also had a metal door, installed in reverse so it could not be opened from the inside, officials said.
After Zuberi left, the woman said she repeatedly banged on the door and was able to break it open. She escaped the home and flagged down a driver who called 911.
Zuberi fled to Reno, Nevada, where he was taken into custody after a “brief” standoff with local police, according to the FBI.
“According to the complaint, this woman was kidnapped, chained, sexually assaulted, and locked in a cinderblock cell. Police say she beat the door with her hands until they were bloody in order to break free,” said Stephanie Shark, Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the FBI Portland Field Office. “Her quick thinking and will to survive may have saved other women from a similar nightmare.”
“We are fortunate that this brave woman escaped and alerted authorities. Through quick law enforcement action we were able to get Zuberi in custody the next day,” Shark added. “While she may have helped protect future victims, sadly we have now linked Zuberi to additional violent sexual assaults in at least four states and there could be more.”
Authorities said Zuberi had lived in 10 states over the past 10 years, and believe there could be additional victims. The investigation has expanded to multiple states including Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama and Nevada.
The FBI said Zuberi may have used different methods to “gain control” of his victims including drugging their drinks and impersonating police. Authorities said the victims are often threatened with retaliation if they contact the authorities.
Those who believe they are victims are encouraged to come forward and contact the FBI.