Sheriff's deputies launched a manhunt Saturday after three male inmates escaped from the Orange County Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, authorities said.
At about 9 p.m. on Friday, prison officials discovered that Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, were unaccounted for, according to Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities conducted a search of the Central Jail Complex, the nearby Civic Center and surrounding areas, but did not locate the three inmates.
The men were last confirmed to be seen at 5 a.m. Friday, Hallock said at a Saturday morning news conference.
Hallock said Saturday afternoon investigators believe the three inmates cut through steel bars, through plumping ducts made it to the roof of the jail and then rappelled down using sheets in what he called a "very well thought out" escape plan.
All three men are to be considered dangerous and anyone who sees them is asked to call 911.
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to their recapture.
All three inmates were in custody for violent charges, the Sheriff's department said. Nayeri, who had been in custody since September 2014, faces charges of kidnapping, torture, burglary and aggravated mayhem. He was being held without bail.
Tieu faces charges for murder, attempted murder, and shooting at an inhabited dwelling. His case is believed to be gang-related. He had been held on a $1 million bond since October 2013.
Duong, who is ineligible for bail due to an immigration hold, had been in custody since December 2015 on charges of possession of a firearm, possession of stolen property, vehicle theft, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and shooting an at inhabited dwelling.
"I want to emphasize that the Sheriff's number one priority in this is the safety of our community," Hallock said. "We have dedicated all available resources to this search and investigation so that we may bring all three inmates back into custody."
Anyone with information about the three inmates was asked to call the Sheriff's Department at 714-647-7000 or 714-628-7085.