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Woman Who Worked At O.C. Jail Accused Of Helping Inmates Escape
Police have arrested a woman who worked at Men's Central Jail in Orange County for allegedly helping the three escaped inmates make their getaway. Nooshafarian Ravaghi, 44, has been accused of helping Jonathan Tieu, Bac Duong and Hossein Neyeri escape from Men's Central Jail on January 22, according to City News Service. All three men are still at large, and are considered armed and dangerous.
Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Lt. Jeffrey Hallock said that Ravaghi was an ESL teacher at Rancho Santiago Community College who had been a contracted employee at the jail for the past six months. Neyeri—that's the one that was in prison for allegedly kidnapping a marijuana clinic owner, torturing him with a blow torch, chopping off his penis and leaving him in the desert to die—took one of Ravaghi's classes. The two apparently became friends, and police now believe that Ravaghi gave the men maps and other information they used to escape, though Hallock said she denies giving them the tools used to cut through metal grates and bars. Hallock also said that they're not sure what type of relationship the pair had, or how much Ravaghi knew about Nayeri's plans.
In addition to Ravaghi, police have arrested 10 others, some of whom were involved with the same gang as Tieu, according to the L.A. Times.
Authorities also believe the men might be hiding in a White GMC Savannah van. Investigators believe that Duong responded to a Craigslist ad selling the van, and then later stole it. This happened in South L.A. earlier in the week. Though Duong was the only person spotted during the alleged theft, Hallock said they have reason to believe that the three escapees are still all together.
The van had a paper license plate from Felix Chevrolet, number 8U66466, though it is possible that the men have removed the paper or replaced it with something else.
The three men made their escape after 5 a.m. on Friday, January 22, shortly after the first of two physical bodycounts that day. Authorities say the men first cut through multiple metal barriers, then made their way through plumbing tunnels, before rappelling down from the roof using ropes made from sheets and clothing. No one discovered the inmates were missing until about 9 p.m. that night. The second physical bodycount scheduled for 8 p.m. was delayed due to a fight that broke out among inmates. Authorities believe that fight may have been orchestrated as a distraction to aid the escapees.
Jonathan Tieu, 20, is accused of murder and is a documented member of a Vietnamese gang. Investigators believe that at 16, Tieu was involved in the 2011 murder of a rival gang member. Bac Duong, 43, 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 brutally torturing him with the aid of two others. Deputy D.A. Heather Brown said that when she heard of Nayeri's escape, "My first reaction was: Oh, my God, they let Hannibal Lecter out. He is sophisticated, incredibly violent and cunning."
At one point, Nayeri and his cohort allegedly cut off the man's penis and took it with them so that it could not be reattached before leaving him in the desert to die. The man and his girlfriend both survived, and Nayeri briefly evaded capture in Iran before being arrested in Prague while on his way to Spain.
There is currently a reward of $200,000 being offered for information that leads to the men's capture. Anyone who sees them should call 9-1-1. You may also call 714-628-7085 with any tips, or submit anonymous tips to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.
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