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Nothing seemed unusual at the Oregon home where a man is accused of holding a woman captive, a neighbor says

The neighbor of a man charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and holding a woman captive in his Oregon garage said Wednesday that nothing seemed out of the ordinary at the home and that the suspect had once saved his pet during a near-fatal dogfight.

Negasi Zuberi, who authorities say is linked to at least four violent sexual assaults in four states, moved to the quiet suburban Klamath Falls neighborhood with his wife and two children about six months ago, said his neighbor Melanie McClure to NBC News.

Zuberi, 29, was charged with one count of interstate kidnapping in federal district court in Oregon after authorities arrested him on July 16. He was taken into custody after a standoff in the parking lot of a Nevada Walmart, according to a probable cause statement. Wednesday unsealed.

The FBI Portland Field Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying potential victims of Negasi Zuberi, who has lived in more than 10 states.FBI Oregon

McClure, an occupational therapist who has lived in the neighborhood since 2016 and lives next door to the house, said when she introduced herself to Zuberi, he identified himself as “Sakima” and said he had just moved in the Colorado region.

“He’s not overly friendly, but he’s not a jerk or anything like that,” McClure, 45, said, recalling their conversation. “Nothing seemed to me that would talk about anything like what he is accused of.”

Zuberi also went through “Justin Hyche” and “Justin Kouassi”, federal authorities said on Wednesday.

Months after the family moved in, McClure’s two dogs — a Doberman pinscher pup and a much smaller Pomeranian-husky mix — fought in his front yard, with the larger animal grabbing the smaller dog’s collar in her mouth and choking him, she said.

Zuberi “was ready to jump in with no questions asked and said, ‘Do you want help? “,” McClure recalls. “I was desperate.”

When they finally released the little dog, he was nearly unconscious and Zuberi administered chest compressions, McClure said.

“He saved him,” she said. “He brought it back to me.”

Then, McClure said, she left the family a bottle of wine and a thank you card.

“I guess I’m surprised I didn’t notice anything,” McClure added. “Here’s the thing – anyone can hide anything.”

McClure was never told what Zuberi did for work, but said he didn’t seem to follow a 9-to-5 schedule. His wife was a “very nice” mother who had no idea of ​​Zuberi’s alleged crimes. her husband, she said.

“She’s doing her best to get her bearings,” McClure said.

Efforts to reach Zuberi’s wife were unsuccessful.

Zuberi’s owners, Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall and her husband, Kevin Westfall, said in a statement Wednesday that they were “shocked and appalled by what happened.”

The couple filed a residential complaint for eviction on July 21, giving 24 hours notice to Zuberi and “everyone else” that there had been “bodily injury, substantial damage, an extremely scandalous act or an occupier illegal” in the property.

In the statement, the Westfalls praised local, state and federal police as well as the woman who authorities say escaped from a makeshift cinder block cell where Zuberi allegedly held her captive.

According to the probable cause statement, Zuberi posed as a police officer when he allegedly approached the woman, a sex worker, in Seattle on July 15 and pointed a stun gun at her, saying he had to put her down. in custody.

Zuberi is accused of putting leg irons and handcuffs on her and sexually assaulting her as he drove her home, about 450 miles south of Seattle, the statement said. Once there, the woman slept but “woke briefly to the realization that she would likely die if she did not attempt to escape,” the statement said.

“Police say she beat the door with her hands until they were bloody in order to break free,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Shark of the FBI Field Office told reporters on Wednesday. Portland.

Home of suspect Negasi Zuberi in Klamath Falls, Ore.
Home of suspect Negasi Zuberi in Klamath Falls, Ore.Google Maps

Once outside, she reported a passing motorist who called 911, the statement said.

When authorities searched Zuberi’s home, they found a handwritten note titled “Operation Supported” with the bullet points “leave phone at home” and “make sure they don’t have too many people in their life”. You don’t want any type of investigation,” the statement read.

Shark said Zuberi was linked to four other violent sexual assaults in at least four states, though she did not reveal where those cases were.

He lived in 12 states – California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Alabama and Nevada – over the past decade and may have used multiple methods to target victims, including the drugs and the impersonation of a police officer, the FBI said.

The agency has launched an investigative website where potential victims or others with information related to the case can fill out a form to offer more information.


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