Escaped California inmates believed living out of stolen van

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The Story Behind the Story: Escaped Inmates from Orange County Jail

SANTA ANA, Calif., Jan 28 (Reuters) - Three inmates who escaped nearly a week ago from a maximum-security jail unit in Southern California are believed to be living out of a utility van they stole two days after their breakout, a sheriff's department spokesman said on Thursday.

SEE ALSO: 5 arrests made in connection with California jailhouse escape

Lieutenant Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department also said a community college instructor who taught at the jail and had befriended one of the fugitives was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of assisting in the escape by furnishing the inmates with Google Maps information.

More details on the convicts' daring escape:

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Inmates rappelled from roof to escape California jail, manhunt
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Escaped California inmates believed living out of stolen van
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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Hallock said the teacher, Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, was an English-as-a-second-language teacher for the presumed mastermind of last Friday's jailhouse getaway, Hossein Nayeri, 37, who is accused of the mutilation torture of a kidnap victim in 2012.

Ravaghi, employed by Rancho Santiago Community College District in Orange County, is one of about 10 people arrested in connection with the escape during the past two days, Hallock said.

Nayeri escaped from the Orange County Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana with two other inmates, both reputed to be connected with Vietnamese-American street gangs - Jonathan Tieu, 20, who is charged with murder, and Bac Duong, 43, charged with attempted murder.

Hallock said it was Duong who took what was supposed to be a test drive in a utility van advertised for sale in south Los Angeles on Sunday and then never came back.

All three fugitives are believed to have remained together since escaping from the jail and have been living out of the van as they continue to elude a massive manhunt, Hallock told a news conference.

Authorities say the men made their getaway by cutting through steel grating inside the jail, climbing through a plumbing conduit to the roof and lowering themselves four floors with bedsheets to the ground; their disappearance went unnoticed for about 16 hours.

The Google Maps information the teacher provided the three men included overviews of the jail rooftop and surrounding areas, according to Hallock. He did not say exactly how the information was furnished or when.

Hallock said Nayeri was a student in a group class taught by Ravaghi at the jail.

He said the friendship between Nayeri and Ravaghi developed from a "student-teacher relationship," but "how far it went and whether it was physical we're trying to get into that."

Hallock said investigators strongly believe the three men remain somewhere in the Southern California region.

The breakout marks the first jail escape in Orange County since the 1980s, sheriff's officials have said.

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