SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --The head of the union for Orange County sheriff's deputies is blaming the recent escape of three inmates on management changes at the jail.
Tom Dominguez, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy sheriffs, is calling for the removal of the jail captain, whose orders he claims led to breakdowns in policy that aided the escape.
"The deputies were in fact ignoring the policy and they were doing this at the direction of the sheriff's management," Dominguez said. "They were told (to do this) about a year ago."
Dominguez and the association are also calling for an independent investigation into how the jail is managed and for the county to take a hard look at staffing levels.
The sheriff's department declined comment on Dominguez's statements. But earlier this week, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens ordered an internal investigation into how the three inmates were able to escape from the Central Men's Jail and why it took so long for jailers to notice the three were missing.
Hutchens said she wants the investigation to examine what factors contributed to the escape and review the jail's procedures for counting inmates.
"I have been very clear from the onset of the jail escape investigation that I am deeply concerned about the length of time it took to recognize that three maximum security inmates were unaccounted for," Hutchens said.
She said for now there have been no personnel changes in the department as a result of the escape.
The three inmates - Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, escaped on Jan. 22 by sawing through a metal grate and crawling out to a jail roof, then rappelling to the ground using a rope made of bed sheets. They were last accounted for at 5 a.m. that day, but they weren't discovered to be missing until around 9 p.m.
The escapees later abducted a taxi driver at gunpoint and held him for a week while they traveled to San Jose. Duong was arrested after he turned himself in on Jan. 29 in Santa Ana, while the other two were caught the next day after a homeless man alerted police to their stolen van in San Francisco.