With 3 California inmates back behind bars, focus turns to how men escaped

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Now that the three violent inmates who escaped from a California jail are back in custody, the focus will turn to how they were able to saw, crawl and climb their way out of a maximum-security facility.

See Full Article

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said she was elated to announce the arrests of the final two fugitives Saturday after eight days on the run from the jail she oversees. But the tough work is just getting started to determine and fix the security lapses that allowed the escape.

"Believe me, we will be looking top to bottom on that," she said. "We do not want another escape from an Orange County jail."

The last two escapees were caught after a civilian flagged down officers near San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and pointed out a parked van that looked like one believed stolen by the trio of inmates during the brazen escape. The man also said someone who looked like one of the fugitives was in the area.

Police approached Hossein Nayeri, the suspected mastermind of the jail break, and he was captured after a short foot chase. The second fugitive, 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, was found hiding in the van with ammunition but no gun. He surrendered without incident.

A third inmate, Bac Duong, 43, surrendered Friday after walking into an auto repair shop in Santa Ana just a few miles from the jail. He told police he had been with the others in San Jose, and the search immediately shifted to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Authorities were interviewing the inmates, hoping to fill the many holes about the escape and their week on the run. How did they get the sharp cutting tools to hack their way through jail walls? What did they do outside the walls? Where did they stay? How did they get money for gas and food?

The three did not know each other before being housed in the Orange County jail. They were awaiting trial on charges including murder, attempted murder, torture and kidnapping. Duong and Tieu have ties to street gangs that operate in the shadows of Orange County's thriving Vietnamese community.

While behind bars, the three were housed together in a large jail module that held 65 other men, about half of whom were in custody for violent felonies.

Early on Jan. 22, the trio sawed through a metal grate covering a plumbing tunnel, then crawled through piping to reach the jail's roof. There, they pushed aside barbed wire and used a rope made of bedsheets to rappel four stories to the ground.

Jailers did not realize the inmates were missing for 16 hours, an embarrassment for Hutchens that has prompted changes in jail operations, but no firings. The intensive search and investigation produced no tangible results for days and then, on Thursday, authorities arrested a woman who taught English at the jail.

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, a 44-year-old children's book author, gave Nayeri a paper copy of a Google Earth map that showed an aerial view of the entire jail compound, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock said. She was booked on suspicion of being an accessory to a felony and was being held pending a court appearance set for Monday. It wasn't clear if she had a lawyer.

Authorities say she and Nayeri — who both were born in Iran — exchanged letters and had a relationship that was closer than it should have been, but stopped short of calling it romantic. Nayeri is a former Marine who grew up in the Fresno area, and authorities say it's unclear why as an English speaker he was in her class that teaches English as a second language.

The day after the escape, Duong responded to a Craig's List ad for a white GMC van and stole it during a test drive, authorities said.

Hutchens said the men's capture clears the way for an intense probe into how they were able to escape.

"We're going to do everything we can in our power — and it's not enough to say, 'Gee, we have an old jail, it's a challenging place,' " she said.

Built in 1968, the jail that housed the men holds about 900 inmates. It was the first breakout from the facility in nearly 30 years.

The three will now return to the jail from which they escaped, Hutchens said. "I can tell you they won't be together," she said.

Rodriguez reported from San Francisco.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Alberta trade minister says NAFTA talks no threat to oil and gas industry

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- Alberta's minister of trade says Canada's oil and gas industry has little to worry about as wide-ranging North American trade negotiations get underway. Speaking Thursday after a conference of state governments in Tacoma, Wash. Source
  • Deal reached in landmark lawsuit over harsh CIA interrogations

    World News CTV News
    SPOKANE, Wash. -- A settlement has been reached in a landmark lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union brought against two psychologists involved in designing the CIA's harsh interrogation program used in the war on terror. Source
  • Gusty winds threaten largest wildfires in B.C. as crews work to prevent spread

    Canada News CTV News
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The weather forecast calls for a cold front, bringing gusty winds to British Columbia that could inflame wildfires that had been stabilized this week. Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says two of the largest fires in the Thompson Nicola and Cariboo regions have seen little growth since Wednesday. Source
  • Lawyer: Woman didn't exploit e-retailer's glitch, she just spotted a deal

    World News Toronto Sun
    BRICK, N.J. — The lawyer for a woman accused of exploiting a glitch on a home improvement chain’s website to get thousands of dollars’ worth of items for free says she is just good at spotting deals. Source
  • Asylum seekers jump to more than 3,800 in August so far: RCMP [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    LACOLLE, Que. — Authorities say the number of asylum seekers intercepted at the Quebec-New York border in July nearly quadrupled and shows no sign of slowing down. Immigration and Citizenship Canada said today the number jumped to 2,996 from 781 in June. Source
  • 3D-printed satellite released into space

    World News Toronto Sun
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking cosmonauts set free the world’s first satellite made almost entirely with a 3D printer on Thursday. In total, Russians Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy ended up releasing five nanosatellites by hand. One by one, the tiny craft — no more than 1 to 2 feet in size — tumbled safely away from the International Space Station. Source
  • U.S. politics may be overshadowing African famine, aid group says

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says a federal program to match donations for the East African famine generated $21.3 million from Canadians. The amount is one of the smallest responses to a Canadian government matching donation program since they initiated the idea for the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 -- and at least one aid agency thinks the distraction of the political drama in the United States might bear some of the blame. Source
  • Trump, Pershing and terrorism: a primer on the president's tweet

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump is being criticized once again for lauding the alleged tactics of Gen. John Pershing in dealing with Islamic extremists in the Philippines at the turn of the last century. Source
  • Man suspected to have killed wife, son, dog, then self

    World News Toronto Sun
    LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A man is believed to have killed his wife, their 7-year-old son and the family dog in their New Jersey home before killing himself, authorities said Thursday. The Ocean County prosecutor’s office said a 48-year-old woman, the child and the dog were found dead Wednesday afternoon in their Lacey Township home. Source
  • GOP senator says Trump hasn't shown stability, competence

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A prominent Republican senator delivered a stinging rebuke Thursday of Donald Trump's short time in office, declaring he has not shown the stability or competence required for an American president to succeed. Sen. Source