Southern California

What We Know About the Escaped Inmates

The three inmates cut through steel bars and plumbing ducts, then made it to the roof of the jail and rappelled down, according to investigators

Three fugitives who broke out of their maximum-security jail dorm early Friday in an elaborate escape that could be ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script were considered armed and dangerous as their criminal histories began to emerge.

Jonathan Tieu, 20, Bac Duong, 43, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, were awaiting trials for unrelated violent crimes. They vanished from a dormitory they shared with about 65 other men at the Orange County Men's Central Jail.

Officials launched a massive manhunt across the region, serving more than 30 search warrants and offering $50,000 in rewards for information leading to their recapture. Todd Spitzer of the Orange County Board of Supervisors said Monday he would request the board increase the reward by $150,000, bringing the total to $200,000.

The Mexican border is only a couple hours south of the prison, but authorities said they had no evidence that the men had left the country.

Authorities said they believe Tieu and Duong may still be in the region due to their ties to local Vietnamese-American gangs.

Here’s what we know about the trio:

Hossein Nayeri

Nayeri and two other men are accused of entering the home of a marijuana dispensary owner who they believed was burying large amounts of cash in the Southern California desert. They allegedly kidnapped the owner and his roommate Nov. 7, 2013, then tortured the owner in a van as they drove into the desert.

The men beat the victim, used a blowtorch to burn him and cut off his penis, according to authorities. The victim was doused with bleach and dumped on the side of a desert road. He was later found after his roommate flagged down a police officer. Nayeri allegedly fled to Iran, where prosecutors said he remained for several months before his arrest during a transfer at an airport in Prague.

Nayeri faces two felony counts of kidnapping for ransom and one felony count each of aggravated mayhem, torture, and first-degree residential burglary, with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury.

Bac Duong

Duong allegedly shot a man Nov. 18, 2015 after an argument on the patio of a Santa Ana home. He was charged with one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of assault with a firearm, one felony count of first-degree residential burglary, one felony count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling or house, one felony count of assault with a firearm with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm, personal discharge of a firearm and great bodily injury.

He was being held without bail on an immigration hold pending a possible federal deportation hearing.

Duong also faces sentencing enhancements for a prior strike conviction for first-degree burglary in 1995 in San Diego County, prior prison convictions for second-degree burglary in 2007, reckless evading of a peace officer in 2008 and possession for sale of a controlled substance in 2011. Prior to the escape, Duong was scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 8.

Jonathan Tieu

On the evening of March 20, 2011, Tieu, then a juvenile, was allegedly involved in a shooting with two others that left a man dead and wounded a second person in a gang-related fight.

Tieu was tried, but a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and the case ended in a mistrial. Before he escaped jail, Tieu was scheduled for retrial on March 18.

Tieu is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, and one felony count of street terrorism with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity, and vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member causing death.

If convicted, Tieu faces a maximum sentence of 84 years to life in state prison.

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