3 escaped Orange County inmates back in custody after more than week on the run

ByGabrielle Moreira KABC logo
Sunday, January 31, 2016
3 escaped Orange County inmates back in custody after more than week on the run
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Bac Duong (left), Hossein Nayeri (center) and Jonathan Tieu (right) are back in the custody of the Orange County Sheriff's Department after escaping the Orange County Central Men's Jail on Jan. 22, 2016.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The three inmates who escaped the Orange County Central Men's Jail on Jan. 22 are all back in custody.

Hossein Nayeri, 37, and Jonathan Tieu, 20, were arrested by the San Francisco Police Department shortly before 9 a.m. near Golden Gate Park on Saturday.

A man flagged down officers about a suspicious person and car in the parking lot of a Whole Foods, authorities said. He informed the officers the vehicle matched the description of a stolen white utility van associated with the fugitives, as well as an individual possibly matching a description of one of the escapees.

San Francisco police had initially reported the citizen as a woman, but clarified the person was a man during an afternoon press conference.

Officers located the suspect at Waller and Stanyan Streets, where a foot pursuit ensued. The suspect, later identified as Nayeri, was apprehended shortly after.

The suspicious van was then located at Haight and Stanyan streets, where officers said they discovered Tieu hiding inside. They apprehended him and then transported both escapees to Park Station for further investigation.

A photo of the exterior of the Orange County Central Men's Jail, which was built in 1968 and currently houses over 900 male inmates.
Orange County Sheriff's Department

Authorities said they found .380 ACP ammunition rounds inside of the van, but did not say how many were found. A weapon was not recovered. San Francisco police said they were still searching for a possible weapon.

Nayeri and Tieu were transferred from the San Francisco County Jail back to the Orange County Jail after being interviewed by sheriff's deputies.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said the inmates were housed in a different area of the jail. She added that an investigation into how the jail failed to prevent an escape is ongoing.

"We do not want another escape in an Orange County jail," she said Saturday afternoon.

Bac Duong, 43, was the third inmate who had escaped with Nayeri and Tieu from the jail. He surrendered to the Orange County Sheriff's Department Friday afternoon after flagging down a citizen in Santa Ana.

Bac Duong is seen in this photo released by the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Nayeri and Tieu face three years in prison for their escape, in addition to the time they face for other violent crimes committed the first time they were in custody.

Duong faces up to nine years in prison for his escape because of prior crimes, including the ones he was suspected of while in custody the first time, according to Rackauckas.

MORE: Bac Duong, one of three escaped inmates, taken into custody

On Jan. 22, the trio fled the jail in an elaborate escape plan that involved cutting through steel bars and plumbing tunnels and then rappelling down the building from the jail's roof. They had been accounted for around 5 a.m. that day and it wasn't until 16 hours later that authorities noticed their disappearance.

Capt. Jeff Hallock said during a press conference earlier in the week that Duong stole a van sold by a private owner the day after the escape. Investigators believed the three men were living in the van and using it to travel through the state.

On Thursday, authorities arrested Nooshafarin Ravaghi, a 44-year-old English as a Second Language teacher who had taught at the jail since July 2015. She developed a close relationship with Nayeri and the sheriff's department said she provided key materials that aided in the escape.

Rackauckas said his office is now classifying the relationship between Nayeri and Ravaghi as romantic.

Booking photo of Nooshafarin Ravaghi
The Orange County Sheriff's Department released the booking photo of Nooshafarin Ravaghi, who was arrested on suspicion of helping inmates escape from the O.C. Central Men's Jail.
Orange County Sheriff's Department

Ravaghi faces charges of being an accessory to a felony and is ineligible for bail. She is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Monday.

The three men faced a slew of charges all involving violent crimes. Nayeri, who authorities referred to as the fictional cannibal killer Hannibal Lecter, faced charges for kidnapping, torture and severing a man's penis. Tieu faced charges for murder and Duong for attempted murder.

ABC7 reporter Greg Lee and sister station, KGO-TV, contributed to this report.