Civic Center

$50K Reward Offered for Information on 3 ‘Dangerous' Inmates Who Escaped OC Jail

Investigators believe the three inmates cut through steel bars and plumbing ducts, then made it to the roof of the jail and rappelled down using sheets

A reward of up to $50,000 has been offered for information leading to the recapture of three "dangerous" inmates who escaped from a jail in Orange County, California, authorities said Sunday.

Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, were discovered missing from the Orange County Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana around 9 p.m. Friday, according to the the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators believe the three inmates cut through steel bars and plumbing ducts, then made it to the roof of the jail and rappelled down multiple stories using a "makeshift rope" in what sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock called a "very well thought out" escape plan.

At a press conference Sunday, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said there have been no sightings of the fugitives and there is no reason to believe the inmates have left the country. She also said investigators had received several helpful tips and were contacting people who know or are related to the inmates to find out if they got any help.

Hutchens said it was believed the inmates had tools to get through three secured areas in the jail and described the escape as a highly "sophisticated operation."

"The reality is from time to time, we will have escapes," said Hutchens. "We will not stop until these individuals are in custody."

Sheriff's officials released images and surveillance video of evidence connected to the escape of the three inmates, including a photos of a makeshift rope believed to be used in the escape.

"I apologize for the lack of quality in the video, but if you look in the upper left hand corner of the video, what you're seeing is a small amount of movement and a little bit of light," Hallock said.

Authorities conducted a search of the Central Jail Complex, the nearby Civic Center and surrounding areas, but did not locate the three inmates. The exact time the inmates escaped was unknown, but Hallock said the men were last confirmed to be seen at a 5 a.m. count on Friday.

They were discovered missing at about 9 p.m., giving them a 15-hour head start. 

All three men are to be considered dangerous, authortities 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.

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $30,000 reward- $10,000 for each inmate and the FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to their arrest, the sheriff’s department said.

Residents were on high alert ever since the news of the inmate escape broke. 

"I'm always making sure that the kids rooms, the windows, are always locked," Jeannette Trevarthen, Orange County resident, said. "It's creepy, you don't know if they're still in the area."

Anyone with information about the three inmates was asked to call the Sheriff's Department at 714-647-7000 or 714-628-7085.

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