Escaped California Inmates Caught by Cops 400 Miles Away

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The last two of three inmates who escaped a maximum-security jail in Southern California more than a week ago were captured this morning in San Francisco, 400 miles north of where they escaped, police said.

Just before 9 a.m. today, a citizen flagged down officers in San Francisco's Park District regarding a "suspicious" person and car, the San Francisco Police Department said.

The citizen noted that the car matched the description of the fugitives' stolen van and the individual possibly matched one of the escapees, the police said.

The suspect, identified as escapee Hoseein Nayer, 37, fled, and officers pursued him and apprehended him, police said.

Officers also responded to the suspicious van parked in a Whole Foods parking lot, where they found the other escapee, Jonathan Tieu, 20, hiding inside, police said. Tieu didn't resist arrest, police said.

"This is an excellent example of how the public can help SFPD keep this city safe," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

Officers found ammunition but no gun in the van, said San Francisco police.

Tieu, Nayeri and Tien Duong, 43, broke out of the Orange County Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., on Jan. 22.

Duong turned himself in to authorities Friday after telling residents in Santa Ana that he wanted to surrender, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The manhunt "was a huge undertaking," Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said at a news conference today.

Rackauckas noted that the ability to capture all three escapees without any injury to law enforcement or civilians "is a tremendous victory."

"We're going to have an opportunity to bring them to justice," Rackauckas added.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said today that she was "elated" to learn the men were caught. Now that the prisoners are back in custody, officials can focus on where the "system failed," Hutchens said.

She said the prisoners will be housed in a different area from where they broke out and they will not be housed together.

No personnel action has been taken against any jail employees, she added.

The three prisoners escaped by cutting through steel bars in their group holding area and traveling through plumbing pipes before reaching the roof, authorities said. They were last seen Jan. 22 at 5 a.m. in a holding area, and the inmates' escape wasn't confirmed until 16 hours later, giving them a lengthy head start on authorities searching for them.

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, a jail teacher, was arrested Thursday on charges of accessory to felony. Ravaghi, 44, allegedly provided the inmates with a photo she printed from Google Earth that would have shown an image of the entire jail complex.

She denied providing the inmates with weapons or tools that would have helped them cut through their steel cell bars, police said.

Rackauckas said this evening that others are also suspected of providing support to the three escapees and charges could be imminent.

Duong had been facing charges of attempted murder, while Tieu was charged with murder and Nayeri was charged with torture and kidnapping. All three inmates pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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