Three inmates, including an accused murderer, made a daring and well-planned escape from a maximum security Calif. jail on Friday and remain on the run Sunday, officials said.
Authorities say 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, Hossein Nayeri, 37, and 43-year-old Bac Duong escaped from Orange County Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana by cutting through half-inch steel bars and then rappelling from a roof on a makeshift rope.
"It was very well-thought-out and planned," Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock admitted Saturday.
The three men were last seen at 5 a.m. on Friday and authorities believe they pulled off their escape sometime between then and Friday night, when they were discovered missing.
According to the Associated Press, the fugitives cut through plumbing tunnels before making it to the roof, where they then climbed down while wearing orange jumpsuits.
Authorities say the discovery of the escape was delayed after a "disturbance" that could have been part of the escape plan.
This is the first escape from the facility in 20 years.
Meanwhile, news of the escape and revelations about the fugitives' alleged crimes has residents uneasy.
Perhaps most worrying, Tieu had been held on $1 million bond since 2013 on charges including murder and attempted murder.
Nayeri, a native of Iran, had been held on charges including kidnapping, torture and aggravated mayhem. Police say Nayeri and three other men kidnapped a marijuana dispensary owner in 2012, drove him to the desert and cut off his penis.
Nayeri then fled the U.S. for Iran before being arrested during a trip to Spain to see his family.
The other fugitive, Bac Duong, had been held since last month on charges including attempted murder and assault.
On Saturday, the Orange Co. Sheriff's Office assured residents that the fugitives would soon be apprehended and returned to jail.
"We are utilizing every resource available to ensure these inmates are brought back into custody as quickly as possible. As Sheriff, my utmost concern and primary responsibility is the safety of each Orange County resident," Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said in a statement.
Hutchens made a plea to locals to speak up if they spot any of the three men.
"I am confident that this collaborative effort will result in returning these inmates to where they belong- behind bars. The capture of these inmates can be expedited with the public’s help," she said.
Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of these inmates, please call our Hotline at 714-628-7085.