Woman Escapes Makeshift Cell in Garage, FBI Searching for More Victims

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Portland Field Office announced that it is seeking public assistance in identifying possible victims of an alleged serial sexual assault offender who has resided in at least ten states.

The suspect, 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi, also known as “Sakima,” “Justin Hyche,” and “Justin Kouassi,” is currently in federal custody on charges of interstate kidnapping. The arrest followed a harrowing escape by a Washington woman from Zuberi’s residence in Klamath Falls, Oregon, where she claimed to have been kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and confined in a cinderblock cell.

Court documents reveal that on July 15, 2023, Zuberi left his Oregon home for Seattle, where he solicited a sex worker and impersonated an undercover police officer. The victim reported that Zuberi threatened her with a taser, restrained her with handcuffs and leg irons, and forced her into his vehicle. He then drove approximately 450 miles, sexually assaulting her during the journey.

Upon reaching his Klamath Falls residence, Zuberi reportedly moved the woman into a makeshift cell in his garage. The cell, constructed from cinder blocks and a metal door installed in reverse, was designed to prevent escape from the inside. However, once Zuberi left, the victim broke the door open and escaped. She flagged down a passing motorist who called 911.

Following the victim’s escape, the Klamath Falls Police Department obtained a search warrant for Zuberi’s residence and discovered the makeshift cell described by the victim. Zuberi had fled but was later apprehended in Reno, Nevada, following a brief standoff with local law enforcement.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Shark of the FBI Portland Field Office praised the victim’s courage and quick thinking, which she believes may have prevented other women from experiencing a similar ordeal. Shark also revealed that Zuberi has been linked to additional violent sexual assaults in at least four states.

Zuberi has lived in ten states over the past decade, and investigators believe there may be more victims. The FBI’s investigation has expanded to include states where Zuberi resided between August 2016 and the present, including California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, and Nevada.

Zuberi, also known as “Sakima,” is believed to have used various methods to control his victims, including drugging their drinks and impersonating a police officer. Victims were often threatened with retaliation if they reported him to the police.

The FBI encourages anyone who believes they may have been a victim or has information about Zuberi to visit fbi.gov/ZuberiVictims or call 1-800-CALL-FBI. Tips can also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.