Man accused of holding kidnapped woman in Oregon garage tried to escape from his jail cell, authorities say

The man accused of sexually assaulting a sex worker and holding her captive in a cinder block cell in his garage tried to escape from the Oregon jail where he’s in custody, authorities said.

Negasi Zuberi, 29, faces charges of second-degree attempted escape and first-degree disorderly conduct, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday. 

Zuberi is being held in the Jackson County Jail on a federal interstate kidnapping charge. 

He was accused of plotting an escape after a maintenance worker outside the jail heard what the statement described as a suspicious sound coming from inside a cell on Tuesday around 12:45 p.m., according to the statement.

Responding deputies found Zuberi standing on his bunk near a chipped window in his cell, the statement says.

A search of the cell found an improvised tool that authorities believe was used to damage an interior section of the window, the statement says. The facility’s exterior windows are made of reinforced glass.

Zuberi was detained and moved to a cell without windows, the statement says.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zuberi was arrested last month after federal authorities said he allegedly posed as a police officer to kidnap a sex worker in Seattle. He was accused of sexually assaulting the woman while driving her roughly 450 miles to his home in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and hold her captive in the cell in his garage.

A makeshift cell made of cinderblocks in the garage of the suspect, 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi.
A makeshift cell made of cinderblocks in the garage of the suspect, 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi.KGW

The woman escaped after spending hours “beating down the cell,” Stephanie Shark, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland field office, told reporters last month.

Zuberi was arrested on July 16 after a 45-minute standoff with authorities in Reno, Nevada.

Shark told NBC News that Zuberi, who has multiple aliases and has lived in 12 states over the last decade, is being investigated in connection to at least four other sexual assaults in four states. A note found at his home suggested he had plans for other assaults, authorities have said.

No charges have been filed in connection with those investigations.