By Adrian Thomas and Web Staff
KLAMATH FALLS, Oregon (KPTV) — A Klamath Falls woman who is the ex-partner and still current housemate of the man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Seattle woman, denies the charges against him.
In a criminal complaint released Wednesday, the FBI alleges 29-year-old Negasi Zuberi imprisoned the Seattle woman in a makeshift cinderblock cell at his home in Klamath Falls, and they say there are likely more victims across the country.
Zuberi’s ex-partner is living in the home in Klamath Falls where the FBI says Zuberi held a woman captive on July 15.
His ex-partner asked to not have her face shown or her name revealed to protect her and the privacy of two children she shares with Zuberi. In a criminal complaint from the FBI, she is referred to as Zuberi’s wife, but she says they have never been married.
She said she denies the allegations presented by the FBI against Zuberi, and that she has no idea this alleged kidnapping took place.
The FBI says the kidnaping happened in the early hours of Saturday, July 15. Zuberi’s ex-partner says she did not hear or see anything that night, and that Zuberi told her he had gone to Seattle to look at potential rental properties.
“I fell asleep on the couch and then I woke up and went to the bedroom, and I feel asleep,” she said. “And then I noticed that he came home and came into the room, I was kind of surprised, and I was like ‘oh you’re back already,’ And then he left, I was like, ‘I’m going back to sleep.’ I woke up maybe around 9 and I asked him for the car key to go to Walmart. I went to Walmart then came back, and then me and my kids planned to go swimming. We didn’t get to do that because of everything that was going on.”
Zuberi’s ex-partner said she did not hear any commotion that night, even though the FBI says the kidnapping victim escaped from the makeshift cell in the garage by banging so hard on a metal door that she broke through it, and ran away on foot. The FBI says the victim flagged down a passing driver for help, was rushed to the hospital, and then led authorities to Zuberi’s home.
When Zuberi’s ex-partner returned home from Walmart, law enforcement had already arrived and were questioning a person who sublet a room in the house from them. She says that same person alerted Zuberi to what was happening, and found out he had already left town.
Zuberi’s ex-partner says she met up with Zuberi the next day in Nevada, after he asked her to meet him on the road.
“He told me he was going to go to Alabama and wait until everything settled down to see what was going on.”
After they met up, the FBI found the couple outside a Walmart in Reno, and arrested Zuberi following a long standoff where agents say he cut himself severely while holding one of his children on his lap, and tried to destroy his phone.
Zuberi’s ex-partner would not share many details about the arrest, other than it was a shock to her and the children, who later made their way back to Klamath Falls on a bus.
That same day, Klamath Falls police served a search warrant where they discovered what appears to be a makeshift cinderblock cell. Zuberi’s ex-partner said it was a misunderstanding, and Zuberi was attempting to build out a spare bedroom.
“It’s not a cinderblock, it’s a room,” she said. “They keep saying it’s a cinderblock. It’s a room, he’s just trying to expand. Everywhere I know him, he never ever built something like that. All he was trying to do was expand subleasing.”
Law enforcement also discovered disturbing notes they allege were written by Zuberi. One of the pages was titled ‘Operation Takeover.’ Zuberi’s ex-partner would not comment specifically on the notes, but says she could never imagine the kidnapping and imprisonment that the FBI alleges took place.
“One thing I know, he would never bring anybody to his home where his own kids live, sleep, where he has tenants coming in and out.”
Zuberi’s ex-partner at one point showed FOX 12 crews what was in the garage. Not much was seen other than some foam insulation. She told us the structure the FBI alleges was a makeshift prison cell has since been taken down.
Fighting back tears, Zuberi’s ex-partner said that regardless of what the court proceedings look like, she stands behind the father of her children.
“He’s a good person, that’s all I know. He helped my kids, he helped me when I needed help. He even helped me apply for school, apply for FAFSA,” she said. “Even if we didn’t get along he was helping me. It is sad that he is being accused.”
On July 26, Zuberi made his first court appearance before a federal judge in Nevada. He remains in custody, and will be extradited to Oregon for his next federal court appearance.
The FBI says there are likely more victims connected to places Zuberi has lived. In addition to Klamath Falls, public records indicate Zuberi has lived in the following places, with a rough estimate of the dates. Many of the timelines overlap:
Denver, CO March 2022-May 2023 Portland, OR Sept. 2022 Vancouver, WA August 2022 Las Vegas, NV July 2019 – June 2021 Chicago, IL Jan 2019 – Dec 2019 Bronx, NY July 2018 – June 2019 Ecorse, MI April 2017 – Sept 2017 Orlando, FL July 2014 – May 2015 Washington County, UT Frequented since roughly 2016 New Jersey Frequented (unspecified dates)
Tuscaloosa, AL June 2014, June 2018 – April 2020 Northport, AL April 2014-June 2018
Antioch, CA Nov 2019 – Feb 2021 Vacaville, CA Nov 2017 – Feb 2019 Oakland, CA October 2012 – March 2018 Azusa, CA March 2016 – June 2016 Granada Hills, CA Feb 2016 – July 2016
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