Teacher arrested for helping 3 inmates escape Cali. jail

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A woman who taught English classes at a Southern California jail was arrested Thursday on suspicion of helping three inmates -- including an alleged killer -- escape the lockup, and the men are believed to be riding around in a stolen van.

See Full Article

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, of Lake Forest, was arrested nearly a week after the men -- one an alleged killer -- cut their way through steel bars, climbed through plumbing tunnels, made their way to the roof, cut razor wire and, using rope made of braided bedsheets, rappelled four stories to freedom from the roof of the Orange County Central Men's Jail. The escape on Jan. 22 wasn't noticed for 16 hours.

It was the first escape from the maximum-security lockup in more than 20 years.

Ravaghi was taken into custody about an hour before the arrest was announced Thursday afternoon and remained jailed. It was unclear whether she had an attorney.

Ravaghi had worked since 2014 as a part-time instructor of English as a second language in the inmate education program operated by the Rancho Santiago Community College District, the school said in a statement.

One of her students was Hossein Nayeri, 37, the alleged mastermind of the escape, who was awaiting trial on charges that he kidnapped and tortured a marijuana dispensary owner -- finally cutting off his penis -- in a bid to learn where he might have cached money.

"There was some type of relationship that developed between the two" that was close, Hallock said, but he didn't know whether it was a romance.

Ravaghi denied supplied any tools to the inmates, but investigators suspect she provided Google maps that potentially could have helped the inmates plan their route after fleeing the jail, Hallock said.

According to a personal website that sells children's books designed by Ravaghi under the name "the Noosha Collection," she was born, like Nayeri, in Iran.

She travelled in Europe and Asia as a child and attended college in Tehran before coming to California in 1997, where she got a masters' degree in education and began teaching English to non-native speakers.

She had undergone a sheriff's background check before beginning her assignment in the jail, and the college is working closely with sheriff's officials to provide anything they need, the school's statement said.

Hallock said investigators believe he and the others -- alleged killer Bac Duong, 43, and Jonathan Tieu, 20 -- are living in a white GMC Savana van that was stolen on Saturday in southern Los Angeles.

Duong apparently stole the vehicle from someone after responding to a sales ad and taking it for a test drive, Hallock said. "They may be driving around and potentially living in the back" of the van, he said.

Hallock said the ongoing manhunt has led to about 10 arrests so far in connection with the escape, with several other arrests made in connection with unrelated arrest warrants or probation violations. None of those arrests were of jail employees.

The investigation has centred on a Vietnamese gang in the nearby cities of Westminster and Garden Grove with ties to two of the inmates.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Police in Taber, Alta., treat burning of Pride flag as an arson case

    Canada News CTV News
    TABER, Alta. -- Police in a small southern Alberta town are treating the burning of a rainbow Pride flag as an arson case. Taber Police Chief Graham Abela says someone used fuel to light a flag pole on fire Saturday and the flames spread to the flag. Source
  • 'Before tragedy strikes': Liberals launch centre to prevent home-grown terrorism

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government has launched a new centre tasked with preventing the radicalization of Canadian young people. A special adviser will be named in coming months to oversee the local outreach and research projects funded through the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence. Source
  • Cladding manufacturer to stop production of some panels after Grenfell fire

    World News CBC News
    Cladding maker Arconic says it is discontinuing global sales of one type of composite paneling for high-rise buildings in the wake of the devastating fire that killed 79 people at Grenfell Tower. Arconic says in a statement Monday that Reynobond PE would no longer be sold for use in high-rise buildings. Source
  • Canadian woman first to lead Changing of the Guard ceremony

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — A Canadian soldier has made history as the first woman to lead the Changing of the Guard ceremony at London’s Buckingham Palace. Megan Couto led her unit as it changed Queen Elizabeth II’s guards on Monday. Source
  • Donald Trump's travel ban goes into effect as case heads to U.S. Supreme Court

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court of the United States is letting a limited version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect, a victory for Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency. Source
  • Baby Doe killer convicted of 2nd-degree murder

    World News Toronto Sun
    BOSTON — A man was convicted Monday of second-degree murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shores of a Boston Harbor island. Michael McCarthy was charged in the 2015 killing of Bella Bond, his girlfriend’s daughter. Source
  • Man convicted of 2nd-degree murder in killing of Baby Doe

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- A man was convicted Monday of second-degree murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shores of a Boston Harbor island. Source
  • Body of what may be missing northern Alberta hunter found on river bank

    Canada News CTV News
    FORT CHIPEWYAN, Alta. -- The body of what is believed to be one of four men who disappeared during a hunting trip in northern Alberta more than two months ago has been located. RCMP in Fort Chipewyan say the body was discovered on the weekend on the bank of the Rocher River, about eight kilometres north of where a boat carrying the hunters was located. Source
  • Jewish leaders angry after plan for mixed-gender prayer area at Western Wall cancelled

    World News CBC News
    A high-profile group of Jewish leaders cancelled a gala event with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to protest his government's decision to scrap plans for a mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem's Western Wall. The move reflects an unprecedented gulf that has erupted between Israel and the Jewish diaspora over how Judaism can be practised in Israel. Source
  • Nunavut's suicide strategy includes Facebook, giving communities more control

    Canada News CTV News
    IQALUIT, Nunavut -- Social media plays a central role in a five-year plan aimed at reducing the number of suicides in Nunavut. "Just about everyone up here has a Facebook account," said David Lawson, an RCMP officer who is president of the Embrace Life Council, which helped produce the plan along with the Nunavut government, RCMP and other organizations. Source