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Where would they go next, police officers desperately wondered. Would they attempt to flee across the border to Mexico? Or were they somewhere in Los Angeles County, where they likely had connections who could offer them shelter?
Soon after, his time on the run came to a voluntary end: On Jan. 29, Duong went to a family member's auto repair shop and surrendered peacefully to police officers responding to the relative's 911 call.
The escapees were divided. On Jan. 28, Tieu and Nayeri left the motel to get the van's windows tinted. Duong took the taxi driver with him back to Rosemead.
While local and federal investigators considered the possibilities, the escapees Jonathan Tieu, 20; Hossein Nayeri, 37; and Bac Tien Duong, 43 were participating in a rather mundane American pastime.
They checked into Flamingo on the second day of the search, shortly after the FBI offered up a $20,000 reward for information leading to the inmates' arrest.
In the end, a schism within the group caused it all to unravel.
These were among the details shared by Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jeff Hallock at a news conference Monday, one day after all three men had been returned to custody. The captures over the weekend were the culmination of a weeklong search for the inmates, whose elaborate jailbreak raised questions about security measures and the reliability of staff at the men's jail.
The facts around how the men pulled off their jailbreak and the extent to which they were aided by others inside and outside the Cheap Men Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber White Australia jail remain largely murky. But a police timeline of their eight days as fugitives provides a thorough look at how the escapees managed to evade capture for over a week.
Upon arrival at San Jose, the inmates checked into the Alameda Motel. There, police say, Duong and Nayeri got into a fist fight with one another. Duong was opposed; Nayeri wanted to do it.
Duong then arranged to "test drive" a white GMC utility van that was advertised on Craigslist. He stole the van and took it with him to Rosemead, Calif., where the escapees and the captive cabdriver spent three nights at the Flamingo Inn, a budget hotel in a small plaza.
[ Sheriff: 3 who broke out of California jail must've had help ]
The next day, the reward was raised to $50,000.
Hallock said the getaway was intricately planned over the course of six months, even though Duong was not booked until last December. The three were housed in the same holding tank while they awaited trial on unrelated charges.
What they purchased at the chain location in Rosemead, Calif., is not known. But from there, their journey became decidedly much less banal. At the end of the shopping trip, Duong pointed a gun at the cabdriver's rib cage and told him he would be coming along as a hostage.
Nayeri, who has been likened to the fictional serial killer "Hannibal Lecter," is believed to be the plot's mastermind. Three years ago, he allegedly was part of a robbery and kidnapping plot that resulted in a man being burned with a blowtorch before his penis was cut off with a knife.
On Jan. 26, four days after the initial escape, the fugitives drove to San Jose. Before leaving Rosemead, however, they mailed a letter to Tieu's mother which police believe was meant to serve as a false lead.
The escape on Jan. 22 involved crawling through air vents and plumbing tunnels to reach an unsecured area of the jail's roof, off which the men repelled themselves onto the ground.
It was a venture that relied on the help of "associates" possibly belonging to Vietnamese gangs, all while public alarm escalated and a reward for information on the inmates grew ever larger.
The Sheriff's Office has maintained that a close relationship between Nayeri and Nooshafarin Ravaghi, an English as a second language teacher at the jail, was crucial to the plot's success. Ravaghi was arrested last week on this suspicion, but she was released Monday because Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas concluded there was "insufficient evidence" to charge her. jail ]
At this point, the reward quadrupled, to $200,000.
Soon after their getaway, police believe the inmates were picked up by an accomplice in Santa Ana, Calif., then they spent time in residences in the nearby cities of Westminster and Huntington Beach.
On their first day on the lam, they were taking a cab to Target.
The three men were fugitives, their stoic mug shots soon to be plastered onto posters boasting generous rewards. Between them, there was a suspected killer, a suspected attempted killer and a suspected kidnapper and torturer. An impressive navigation of steel bars and plumbing tunnels had gotten them out of a maximum security facility in Orange County, Calif., and now they were on the run.
They had already been gone for 16 hours (and made the trip to Target) when their absences were noted during that evening's head count, which may have been intentionally delayed by an altercation between other inmates.
A man named Loc Ba Nguyen, 50, has also been arrested on charges of helping the inmates smuggle tools into the prison. He is neither an inmate nor an employee.
According to police, Ravaghi admitted to providing Nayeri with Google map printouts and aerial photos, enabling his escape.
a teacher and a cabdriver
"It is unfortunate she was labelled a conspirator," he told the Los Angeles Times.
Hallock could not clarify whether Nayeri and Ravaghi had a romantic connection, but he did say theirs was "beyond the professional relationship that we would expect" between a teacher and a student in a jail setting. It is also still unknown why Nayeri, an ex Marine, was taking ESL classes to begin with if he already spoke English.