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Escaped Inmate's Ex-Wife Went Into Hiding Out Of Fear For Her Life

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The ex-wife of Hossein Nayeri, one of the Orange County inmates who managed to break out of jail last month, had to go into hiding for the eight days he was on the loose. Her story is a bizarre one that includes making poisoned hamburger patties for a victim's dog and luring Nayeri into the hands of authorities during an earlier escape attempt. Hossein Nayeri, 37, is what you might call a really bad dude. He was in jail because he allegedly kidnapped a Newport Beach marijuana shop owner and his girlfriend and, with the aid of two others, tortured shop owner with a blowtorch, chopped off his penis and left him for dead in the desert before fleeing to Iran. Iran, which is where Nayeri was originally from, does not have an extradition agreement with the U.S., so Nayeri may have avoided justice altogether had his ex-wife, Cortney Shegerian, 29, not tricked him into heading to Spain, the L.A. Times reports. When the flight landed for a stopover in the Czech Republic, authorities were waiting. Nayeri was returned to the U.S. and locked up until January 22, when he and two other inmates successfully pulled off an elaborate escape.

Nayeri was free for eight days, until authorities apprehended him and another escapee in San Fransisco on Saturday. The third inmate had turned himself in on Friday in Santa Ana. For those eight days, Shegerian was in hiding, fearing for her life.

According to the Times, Shegerian and Nayeri met when they were young, and got married in later in 2010. Not even a year after the marriage, she had already accused him of domestic violence, but they remained together. At the time of the alleged kidnapping in 2012, Nayeri was a marijuana dealer and she was a student at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa.

Nayeri had been conducting surveillance on the shop owner because he believed—falsely—that he had buried $1 million out in the desert. Shegerian told detectives that she had driven Nayeri to the shop owner's home and his parents' home as he picked up or adjusted cameras he had previously installed. She also said that she made hamburger patties laced with poison, which Nayeri had asked her to do so he could poison the victim's parents' barking dog. Detectives aren't sure if Nayeri ever followed through on those plans. She said she was also aware that Nayeri had borrowed her Taser, and that she heard Nayeri and one of his alleged accomplices fooling around with a blowtorch in the couple's garage.

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Shegerian's lawyer, Lewis Rosenblum maintains that Shegerian was a "vulnerable" teenager when she met Nayeri, and that she didn't know the full extent of Nayeri's plans. He said that she immediately agreed to help police as soon as she realized what he did.

Meanwhile, Robert K Weinberg, who is the attorney of one of Nayeri's alleged accomplices in the kidnapping plot, is dubious. "Imagine someone inquisitive enough to go to law school not asking her husband, 'Why do you want me to poison a dog?'" he told the Times.

Shegerian ultimately aided authorities by communicating overseas with Nayeri via phone and email. She convinced him to meet her in Spain for a vacation where she would also give him money and a new phone. Instead, Nayeri was arrested by waiting authorities in the Czech Republic. Shegerian had also flown to the Czech Republic, but the two did not interact. After his capture, Nayeri still wrote Shegerian telling her he loved her, seemingly unaware she had set him up until much later.

Nayeri filed for divorce in 2014, but their marriage was ultimately annulled in 2015 by an L.A. judge based on the fact that Nayeri was apparently married to another woman in Iran before Shegerian.

Shegerian has not yet been charged in connection with any of Nayeri's alleged crimes, and is currently an associate attorney at her uncle's law firm, Shegerian & Associates.