Manhunt expands for 'dangerous' trio after daring jailbreak

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Manhunt Underway for 3 Inmates Who Escaped California Jail by Rappelling

One of the escapees is accused of torturing and mutilating the owner of a marijuana dispensary. Another was awaiting trial for a gang-related murder. The third was charged with shooting into a house full of people.

Now the three, who made a daring escape from the Orange County Men's Jail on Friday, are the focus of a massive manhunt across Southern California involving hundreds of police officers and the FBI.

"We absolutely need the public's help," Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said Monday, adding that they don't believe they've fled across the border into Mexico. "These three are extremely dangerous felons."

Initial investigation found no assistance from anyone inside the jail and no guards have been suspended in connection with the first successful breakout from the jail in downtown Santa Ana in nearly 30 years, sheriff's Lt. Dave Sawyer said.

A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the recapture of the three escapees — Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43.

Tieu and Duong are both members of local Vietnamese street gangs, Sawyer said, and the department made a direct appeal to that community for help in locating them.

See photos of the jailbreak:

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Inmates rappelled from roof to escape California jail, manhunt
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Manhunt expands for 'dangerous' trio after daring jailbreak
Orange County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Lt. Jeff Hallock, right, says escaped inmate Bac Duong, marked "Captured," middle, surrendered in Orange County earlier Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, during a news conference in Santa Ana, Calif. Duong told investigators he was with the other two fugitives in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday. Hallock says the other two men, Jonathan Tieu and Hossein Nayeri, may now be headed to Fresno in Central California, where there may be associates who can help them. Authorities had previously said they thought all three men were still in Southern California. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
This undated photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department shows Nooshafarin Ravaghi. Ravaghi, 44, who taught English classes at Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., was was arrested Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, on suspicion of helping three inmates escape the lockup. She was arrested nearly a week after the men â one an alleged killer â cut their way out of the jail and rappelled down an outside wall last Friday. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department shows Hossein Nayeri. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens earlier this week cited Nayeri's troubled and conniving past when she labeled him as "most probably the mastermind" of a stunning jail break that blindsided authorities and has put three inmates on the loose. Nayeri racked up a stunning list of criminal exploits in the decade leading up to his breakout, including a high-speed police chase, a sordid torture case and a flight overseas to avoid capture. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)
Orange County Sheriff agents search for additional suspects as they search the back of a hotel in Santa Ana, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Authorities say they have captured one of three inmates who escaped from a California jail last week while facing charges involving violent crimes. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Orange County Sheriff deputies take cover as law enforcement agents search for fugitive inmates in Santa Ana, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Authorities say they have captured one of three inmates who escaped from a California jail last week while facing charges involving violent crimes. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
This image provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows three jail inmates charged with violent crimes who escaped from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men from left are, 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder, and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. on Friday and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This undated combo photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Office shows tattoos and other markings on the body Bac Duong, one of three inmates who escaped Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, from the county's Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said Wednesday that several arrests have been made in the investigation, but the inmates themselves have not been captured. (Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Orange County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Lt. Jeff Hallock, left, takes questions from the media in Santa Ana, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. Three inmates from Orange County Men's Central Jail, including a man suspected in a killing, cut through metal, crawled through plumbing tunnels, climbed a roof and rappelled down four stories to freedom using ropes made from bedsheets. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Authorities with the Orange County Central Jail stand on the top jail floor in Santa Ana, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Three inmates, including a man suspected of a killing, cut through metal, crawled through plumbing tunnels, climbed a roof and rappelled down four stories to freedom last week using ropes made from bedsheets. The sheriff's department has been slow to add more rooftop security cameras at the jail despite a grand jury's recommendations for eight years straight, according to a report Monday. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Orange County sheriff's deputies investigate early Saturday morning, Jan. 23, 2016, after three jail inmates charged with violent crimes escaped from Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. Friday morning and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (AP Photo/Kevin Warn)
This Jan. 23, 2016 photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Office shows the exterior of Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., from which three inmates escaped sometime Friday, Jan. 22. Investigators are pursuing several leads in their search, and in the meantime a separate probe was launched into how the inmates managed to obtain the tools to cut through the steel bars and plumbing tunnels to make it to the roof. (Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This Jan. 23, 2016 photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Office shows a closeup view of a vent screen that had been cut and removed inside a cell at Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., from which three inmates escaped sometime Friday, Jan. 22. Investigators are pursuing several leads in their search, and in the meantime a separate probe was launched into how the inmates managed to obtain the tools to cut through the steel bars and plumbing tunnels to make it to the roof. (Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This Jan. 23, 2016 photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Office shows a cell and a vent screen that had been cut, near the floor at center rear, at Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., from which three inmates escaped sometime Friday, Jan. 22. Investigators are pursuing several leads in their search, and in the meantime a separate probe was launched into how the inmates managed to obtain the tools to cut through the steel bars and plumbing tunnels to make it to the roof. (Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 43-year-old Bac Duong, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Office shows a cord made of an undetermined fabric that facilitated the escape of three inmates from Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., sometime Friday. Investigators are pursuing several leads in their search for the inmates, and in the meantime a separate probe was launched into how the inmates managed to obtain the tools to cut through the steel bars and plumbing tunnels to make it to the roof. (Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Orange County sheriff's deputies and a search dog investigate early Saturday morning, Jan. 23, 2016, after three jail inmates charged with violent crimes escaped from Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. Friday morning and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (AP Photo/Kevin Warn)
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Nayeri is the most notorious of the three. He was being held of two counts of kidnapping, extortion, aggravated mayhem, torture and other charges stemming from a stomach-churning episode in 2012 that could have been an episode from "Breaking Bad."

Prosecutors said Nayeri and two other men used a blowtorch to torture a licensed pot dealer in the mistaken belief he had money buried in the desert. They then sliced off his penis and poured bleach on him before dumping him and his girlfriend by the side of a road.

Nayeri tried to flee to Iran but was caught by the FBI in Prague. He had been held at the jail since September 2014.

Tieu is a gang member who had been in the jail since October 2013 and charged with murder, attempted murder and street terrorism, officials said.

Duong, who is also a gang member, had been at the jail for little over a month and was charged with attempted murder, burglary, three firearms violations and other charges.

The three escapees were being held in a large dormitory-style cell with 65 other prisoners when they cut through the steel grate behind their bunk beads some time after the Friday morning head count and slithered through a plumbing tunnel to reach the roof, Hallock said.

Along the way, they had cut through several half-inch bars and plumbing ducts, he said.

Hallock said that once on the roof they used a "makeshift rope" to rappel down several stories to the ground. He said the guards didn't notice they were gone until they did the 9 p.m. Friday head count.

Investigators don't know where the escapees got the tools, whether they shed their orange prison uniforms before the left the hulking jail complex, or if there was a getaway driver waiting outside for them. But they suspect a fight in the dormitory around 8 p.m. Friday was staged to give the escapees more time to get away.

Clearly, said Hallock, it was a "very well thought-out" escape plan.


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