Southern California on High Alert Following Escape of Orange County Jail Inmates

The escape of three Orange County jail inmates, including a suspected murderer, has left Southern California residents on edge, with one prosecutor even describing one of the men as a “diabolical” Hannibal Lecter-like figure.

Now, that’s comforting.

The manhunt began Friday at around 9 p.m. when Jonathan Tieu, 20, Bac Duong, 43, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, were discovered missing from their cells at the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana. Jail officials said they cut through at least four layers of steel and rebar before making it to the roof, shuttling down and escaping into the streets.

As of Tuesday evening, the individuals were still at large.

"We sincerely need input from the community to help us put these three dangerous individuals back into custody," said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Sawyer, who is leading the escape probe. Authorities don’t believe the men traveled far from the immediate area and have been asking members of the local Vietnamese community to assist in the search.

On Monday, Orange County prosecutors charged all three men with felony counts of escape. Those charges are little consolation to worried members of the community, however, who now have to worry about possible maniacs on the loose.

“My first reaction was: Oh, my God, they let Hannibal Lecter out. He is sophisticated, incredibly violent and cunning,” said prosecutor Heather Brown, who is handling a 2012 case against Nayeri. According to Brown, Nayeri is accused participating in an attack on a Newport Beach pot shot owner in 2012. During the assault, he allegedly burned and beat the victim and ordered another assailant to cut off the man’s penis.

Tieu, a Vietnamese gang member, has been in custody since October 2013 on charges of murder and attempted murder.

To make matters worse, it was revealed Tuesday that the inmates’ escape was not discovered by jail guards until a full 16 hours after the fact. A department spokesman said the sheriff was "extremely troubled” by the news, adding that immediate steps have already been taken to increase security at the facility.

Read more about this developing story here.

Image Credit: Image Credit: Flickr User mikecogh, via (BY-SA 2.0)



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