California Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown believes Hossein Nayeri to be the real Hannibal Lecter. Nayeri is one of three California men who escaped an Orange County jail last week and is now being compared to the film character Hannibal Lecter. Hossein Nayeri, 37, had been held without bond since September 2014, charged with kidnapping, torture, aggravated mayhem and burglary. Nayeri and two other men are accused of kidnapping a California marijuana dispensary owner in 2012, driving him to a spot in the desert where they believed he had hidden money and then torturing him.
Law enforcement now considers Nayeri to be the mastermind behind the escape as well as the one who recruited the other two escapees. A lawyer representing one of Nayeri’s codefendants in the 2012 case told the Los Angeles Times that when he heard about the escape, he immediately thought that Nayeri was the mastermind and had recruited the others. Lawyer Robert Weinberg said the savagery of the kidnapping case was an indication of how dangerous Nayeri could be while on the run.
Sheriff’s Lt. David Sawyer said the men should be considered extremely dangerous and may be hiding in the area. All are accused of violent crimes, and at least one is connected to Vietnamese gangs in the area, Sawyer said. Jonathan Tieu, Bac Duong and Hossein Nayeri have been charged with federal felony counts of escaping prison. Authorities said they could be hiding out somewhere nearby and are considered armed and dangerous. So far, investigators have served 30 search warrants in the area, but have come up empty, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.
The new felony charges could put the trio in federal prison for up to a combined 15 years. Investigators are trying to find out how they got their tools, and if they had help getting out. So far, no one here at the sheriff’s department has been put on leave or suspended in relation to the escape.
It’s also unclear why the inmates — who were charged with violent felonies — were housed in a common dorm with more than 60 other inmates. Assignment to a large, busy room likely made it easier for them to avoid detection. The prosecutor called in mind-boggling that they were housed in a minimum-security facility. Law enforcement says the group rappelled off the roof, down nearly five floors, using a make-shift rope made of linens.
It’s mind-boggling that he was housed in a dorm with such low-level security.”
Sawyer said someone in the area must know where they are or where they are headed. He said the identity of anyone who provided information could be protected. Rewards for information leading to their capture total about $50,000.