Two Remaining Escaped Santa Ana Inmates Have Been Recaptured, Investigation Into Escape Still Ongoing

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department have announced that they recaptured the remaining two inmates that escaped last week from the Orange County Men’s Central Jail. Officials stated that the San Francisco Police Department were the ones to capture the men on Saturday morning.

According to Officer Grace Gatpandan, the two inmates, 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri and 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, of Newport Beach, were captured in the Park District area by officers from the San Francisco Police Department a little before 9 a.m. The capture comes less than 24 hours after the third suspect, Bac Duong, flagged down a citizen and turned himself into the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on Friday afternoon. The three inmates had escaped the jail together, and authorities believed that the other two were heading to Fresno because of a family connection that Nayeri had.

The three men had originally escaped the maximum security Orange County Men’s Central Jail about a week ago on January 22. The trio’s escape was an elaborate plan that involved them cutting through steel bars then using plumbing tunnels to make their way to the roof of the jail and finally rappelling down the building using a makeshift rope. It took over 16 hours for authorities to notice the disappearance of the inmates from the jail as they had been accounted for at around 5 a.m. that day. The investigation into their escape is still underway, but police suspect that a contractor may have helped them. KTLA reported that at some point, Duong had stolen a white van from a private property one day after the escape. It was believed that the escaped inmates had been living out of the van during their escape. The van was described to have tinted windows, with yellow decals across the back and driver’s side that had been removed. A paper plate which originally read “Felix Chevrolet” had likely been changed.

A press conference was held at noon today wherein Sheriff Sandra Hutchens of Orange County advised that the men had been arrested in the parking lot of a Whole Foods all thanks to an observant woman who tipped off the authorities after recognizing the van that the inmates had been using. The Whole Foods is located near Telegraph Avenue in San Francisco. One suspect attempted to flee the authorities, but the resulting foot chase was reportedly very short. Though multiple rounds of ammunition were found in the van, no weapon was recovered from the escaped inmates.

Both Nayeri and Tieu were considered to be armed and dangerous during their time as escaped convicts, and according to Buzzfeed News, Hutchens said that she is glad to announce that the “dangerous individuals” were finally off the streets and that the people of California could now “breathe safe.” It is not known if the $150,000 reward that had been offered for the capture of the two inmates would be dispensed to the woman who gave the tip about the van to the authorities. Hutchens did, however, state that she believes the woman deserves the reward.

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, arrested in connection with helping the three inmates escape last week

After Duong turned himself in, he cooperated with officials as the hunt for Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu continued. Over 10 persons have been arrested in connection with helping the men escape, and most of them have been announced as alleged members of a Vietnamese-American gang in Orange County. On Thursday, a 44-year-old language teacher, Nooshafarin Ravaghi, was also arrested on suspicion of aiding the escape of the inmates. The woman met Nayeri while teaching English as a Second Language at the Orange County jail and developed a personal relationship. Ravaghi is believed to have provided the tools the inmates used to cut the steel. She is scheduled for a court appearance on Monday.

The recaptured men will reportedly now be housed in a different area and held separately.

[Photo Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff’s Department]