After days on the run, 2 escaped inmates booked in Orange County jail

Escaped inmates booked

Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, at the Orange County jail in Santa Ana on Jan 31.

(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Two of the three inmates who escaped from an Orange County jail were booked early Sunday morning into the Santa Ana detention facility from which they had fled.

Video released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department shows deputies escorting Jonathan Tieu and Hossein Nayeri into the Central Men’s Jail about 1 a.m.

Nayeri, 37, and Tieu, 20, were arrested Saturday in San Francisco after a man near a Whole Foods Market there spotted the white GMC Savana that the suspects stole in South Los Angeles, police said.

As officers approached, police said, Nayeri started running and was caught after a brief chase. Tieu was found hiding inside the van. Their accomplice in the jailhouse escape, Bac Duong, 43, had turned himself in to authorities on Friday.


The arrests follow an eight-day manhunt that began after the three broke out of the jail, where they were being held in a fourth-floor dormitory with more than 60 other inmates. They cut through at least four layers of steel and rebar and slink through unsecured plumbing tunnels to reach the jail’s roof, authorities said. 

With a makeshift rope of knotted bedsheets and cloth, they then rappelled to the ground and escaped, officials said.

They were first reported missing on Jan. 22 after officials performing an 8 p.m. head count noticed their absence. It was the first escape in three decades at the detention center, which was built in 1968. 


It’s unclear how the inmates got the tools officials suspect they used to break out of the jail. 

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens on Saturday said that officials had not determined whether others aided in the escape plan. She has scheduled a news conference on Monday to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Authorities say an English-language instructor at the jail, Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, provided Nayeri access to Google Maps, which gave him an aerial view of the jail’s roof.

The three obtained the white van on the day after the escape. Duong responded to a Craigslist ad for the 2008 vehicle in South Los Angeles, took the vehicle on a test drive and never returned it, said Sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Hallock.

During their time on the run, they headed north to San Jose, where they checked into a motel and paid cash for a two-night stay. 

Meanwhile, law enforcement in Orange County carried out more than 60 search and arrest warrants, taking as many as 10 people into custody during sweeps in Little Saigon. Duong turned himself in on Friday, showing up at a friend’s auto body shop in Santa Ana, where he told the owner and his wife to call police. 

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San Francisco authorities said the unidentified man alerted police about the van that Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials had described to the public as the possible getaway vehicle. Officers began scouting the area at Haight and Stanyan streets and spotted Nayeri, who ran off after seeing the officers, police said. He was later arrested.


Tieu was found hiding inside the vehicle, and he and Nayeri were arrested and booked into jail without incident, said San Francisco police Officer Grace Gatpandan.

Staff writers Richard Winton, Taylor Goldenstein, Matt Stevens and Anh Do contributed to this report.


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