One of the three prisoners who escaped from a California prison turned himself in to police on Friday. Inmate Bac Duong contacted a civilian on the streets of Santa Ana and told him he wanted to turn himself in early Friday. The other two inmates remain on the loose as authorities believe that they may be riding in a white utility van in the San Jose area or heading towards Fresno. The three inmates escaped from the Orange County Central Men’s Jail by using a makeshift rope to rappel from the roof of the facility sometime Friday. Tools were used to cut through steel bars and a grate.
It took prison staff 16 hours to realize the three men were missing because an assault on a guard delayed the scheduled evening head count. Five people described by Hutchens as having “some connection” with the escape were arrested earlier this week. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service originally offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the three men but the Orange County Board of Supervisors increased the reward to $200,000.
Authorities say Duong has been held without bond since last month on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges in a gang shooting. Immigration authorities and records indicate he had been ordered deported to Vietnam in 1998 but remained in the country and racked up a lengthy rap sheet.
Nayeri 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.
The prosecutor in his case drew criticism from her boss when she compared Nayeri to fictional cannibal killer Hannibal Lecter after the escape. Nayeri, the probable mastermind in the escape, had help from a woman whose English classes he was taking while locked up, authorities allege. In a high profile New York prison break last year, the fugitive inmates had help from a female prison employee who allegedly had sexual relations with one of them. She was sentenced to seven years for her role.
Of the three, Duong spent the least time at the jail before the escape. Duong, charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting a man in Santa Ana in November, arrived at the jail in December. Tieu had been at the jail since October 2013 on charges of murder, attempted murder and street terrorism. Investigators believe a close relationship developed between the two, who had exchanged handwritten letters of a “personal nature,” sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock said.