LOS ANGELES- It was a daring and elaborated escape: trim through metal, crawling through plumbing passageways, climbing a roof, rappelling four stories to freedom using ropes made from bedsheets.
But this wasn’t a Hollywood movie; it was a real-life breakout that left authorities struggling to find three escapees one an alleged killer and put together the pieces of how they managed to thwart security at a Southern California maximum-security jail.
The priority was finding the men whom are maybe armed and considered dangerous but a probe also is underway to see whether “the mens” had any help from inside or outside the Orange County Men’s Central Jail, authorities said Sunday.
Jonathan Tieu, 20; Bac Duong, 43, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, are always awaiting trial for violent crimes but their cases were unconnected. They vanished from a dormitory they shared with around 65 other humen on Friday shortly after the 5 a.m. inmate head count, county sheriff’s officials said.
Somehow, the men obtained tools that allowed them to cut through the quarter-inch-thick grill on a dormitory wall, then got into plumbing passageways. Cutting their way through additional half-inch-thick steel bars, the trio constructed their style to an unguarded area of the roof of the four-story build, where they apparently moved aside some razor wire and rappelled to the ground utilizing elaborately braided ropes made from linens, authorities said.
The escape wasn’t noticed for 16 hours, until a nighttime head count that was delayed about an hour because of a fight involving some other inmates that may or may not have been part of the escape plan.
Clearly, the scheme had been long in the making and carefully thought out, sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said.
“We’re talking about breaching, in some places, significant amounts of steel, rebar and metal, ” Hallock said.
As federal and local authorities staged a round-the-clock manhunt, there remained a lot of questions about the escape itself. How did the men get the cutting tools? When did they build the rope and where did they stash it? How did they know the incarcerate layout so well? Did they have outside help, maybe a auto waiting when they are ran off on foot in their orange incarcerate jumpsuits?
And perhaps most importantly: did other inmates or jail employees help them?
“We’re going to take a look at everybody who may have been assigned there, ” Hallock said. “What I can assure you is that the compromises in security have been shored up.”
He didn’t provide details.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 37 years, always working for sheriff’s departments that manage jails. And escapes do occur from time to time, ” Sheriff Sandra Hutchens told. “We try and limit that. We learn from the mistakes. I can tell you that this is a very sophisticated-looking operation. People in jail have a lot of time to sit around and think about ways to defeat our systems.”
There had been two previous escapes from the incarcerate but they were decades ago. In fact , nobody had managed it in more than 20 years.
But the aging jail, built in 1968 and housing some 900 men, does have some vulnerabilities. Its design lets inmates to move through different regions more easily than more modern jails.
And inmates do move, which makes it difficult to get daytime head counts.
“We have people going to court, we have people going for medical treatment, and you can’t leave them locked down 24 hours a day. There are requirements that they get out and exercise from time to time, ” Hutchens said.
The inmates include 20 -year-old Jonathan Tieu, who had been held on a$ 1 million bond since October 2013 on charges of slaying, attempted murder and shooting at an inhabited dwelling. His example is believed to be gang-related.
On Sunday, his mother and sister said they hadn’t heard from him and tearfully pleaded for him to surrender.
“I miss you … I want my son back, ” his mother, Lu Ann Nguyen of Santa Ana, told KABC-TV.
“I for sure know he wasn’t the one who orchestrated this. I feel he was manipulated or tricked into doing this, ” said his sister, Tiffany Tieu.
“Just turn in yourself in. Don’t let( it) drag out, ” she said.
Hossein Nayeri, 37, had been held without bond since September 2014 on charges of kidnapping, torturing, exacerbated mayhem and burglary. Nayeri and three other humen are accused of kidnapping a California marijuana dispensary owner in 2012. They drove the dispensary owned to a desert spot where they believed he had concealed money and then cut off his penis, authorities said.
After the crime, Nayeri fled the U.S. to his native Iran, where he remained for several months. He was arrested in Prague in November 2014 while changing flights from Iran to Spain to visit family.
The third escaped inmate, 43 -year-old Bac Duong, was being held without bond since last month on charges of attempted slaying, assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, being an ex-felon in possession of a pistol and other
While the Mexican border is only a couple of hours south of the prison, authorities said they had no evidence that “the mens” had left the country. Their alleged victims, as well as prosecutors and sleuths involved in their cases, have been cautioned and researchers also are reaching out to family and acquaintances of the escaped inmates.
Federal authorities are offering $50,000 in rewards for info leading to their recapture.
“We’re in a position where we absolutely require the public’s help, ” Hallock said. “There’s people out there that know who these individuals are, who may have seen them. We’re asking for telephone call, whether it’s any piece of information you may have.”
“We’re depleting every lead that we currently have, ” he said.