Three Escaped Inmates Still On The Loose, Possibly Armed And Desperate
Authorities say three 'very dangerous' inmates who successfully escaped a maximum security facility in Orange County last week may still be in Southern California, and are possibly armed and desperate. Jonathan Tieu, Hossein Nayeri and Bac Duong are still on the loose after successfully carrying out an elaborate escape from the Orange County Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana, where the three had been held in maximum security on charges of violent crimes. Both the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI are involved in a round-the-clock search, and are offering rewards that, when combined, total $50,000 for information that leads to the men's arrest, City News Service reports.
About 30 search warrants have been issued for both residences and cell phones as part of the investigation, and as many as 250 investigators are on the case, according to the OC Register.
Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. Jeff Hallock said that Tieu "may have connected with... fellow gang members in the Vietnamese community." However, they don't have evidence indicating that the men are still together. Hallock said they do believe the men will become desperate, either for money or help.
"They are facing some very serious charges. That's why we're pleading for the public's help because we know somebody out there knows something," Hallock said.
So far, there have been some tips as to the men's whereabouts, but they haven't been spotted since the escape.
Tieu, 20, is accused of murder and is a documented member of a Vietnamese gang, KTLA reports. Investigators believe that in March of 2011, a 16-year-old Tieu was affiliated with the Tiny Rascal Gang and, along with other gang members, killed 19-year-old Scott Bui. Bui was allegedly involved with the Power of Vietnam gang.
Duong, 43, who was also connected to a Vietnamese gang, had been charged with attempted murder, carjacking, domestic violence and a number of weapons violations.
Nayeri, 37, had been accused of kidnapping a marijuana clinic owner and his girlfriend in 2012, and then torturing him with the aid of two others. Investigators say Nayeri and his companions burned the victim with a blowtorch, chopped off his penis, poured bleach over him and then left him and his girlfriend in the desert to die. They also allegedly took the penis with them so that it could not be reattached. The girlfriend, though tied up, ran a mile down a road to alert police, and they both survived. Nayeri left the U.S. and fled to Iran, and because the U.S. and Iran do not have extradition agreements, Nayeri wasn't apprehended until investigators were able to trick him into going to the Czech Republic. He was arrested in Prague while on his way to Spain, then was extradited to the U.S.
To bust out, authorities say the men cut through multiple metal barriers, including a steel grate and bars, then made their way through way through plumbing tunnels. They were able to get to the roof, where they used ropes made from bedding or clothes to rappel to the ground. They believe the men made their escape after a 5 a.m. physical headcount on Friday, the first of two that takes place each day. However, no one noticed that they were missing at the 8 p.m. headcount because that was postponed due to a fight among inmates during which a deputy was injured. As such, no one discovered they were gone until about 9 p.m. Police believe that the fight may have also been a part of the inmates' plans. Authorities say this elaborate escape was likely planned over the course of weeks or months.
The last escape at this particular facility occurred in 1989, in which five men made ropes from bedsheets and used them climb down the side of the building.
If you see any of these men, you are encouraged to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. You may also call 714-628-7085 with any tips, or submit anonymous tips to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.