A woman kidnapped and held captive in a makeshift cell by a man posing as an undercover police officer punched her way to freedom, the FBI has said.
Negasi Zuberi, 29, allegedly snatched the unnamed victim off a street in Seattle on 15 July before driving her around 450 miles to his rented home in Klamath Falls, Oregon – a seven-hour journey – and locking her in the garage.
“This woman was kidnapped, chained, sexually assaulted and locked in a… cell,” Stephanie Shark, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Portland, Oregon, said in a statement.
“Police say she beat the door with her hands until they were bloody in order to break free.”
Now officers are looking for other possible victims after linking Zuberi to sexual assaults in at least four other states.
The woman’s “quick thinking and will to survive may have saved other women from a similar nightmare,” Ms Shark added.
Investigators say Zuberi – who also used the names Sakima, Justin Hyche and Justin Kouassi – solicited the woman, identified only as Adult Victim 1, to engage in prostitution along Aurora Avenue in Seattle, an area known for sex work.
He allegedly claimed to be an undercover police officer, showing a badge before pointing a stun gun at her and placing her in handcuffs and leg irons.
He then put her into the back of his vehicle before driving home – stopping to sexually assault her on the way, the victim said.
Victim realized ‘she would likely die’ if she didn’t try to break free.