An Orange County jail escape led authorities to a woman who taught English classes. The teacher was arrested on suspicion of helping three inmates — including an alleged killer — escape the jail, and the men are believed to be riding around in a stolen van, according to Yahoo News.
The teacher at the jail has been identified as 44-year-old Nooshafarin Ravaghi of Lake Forest. She alleged helped the men escape by cutting their way through steel bars, and then climbing through plumbing tunnels to make their way to the roof. They used a rope made of braided bedsheets to drop four stories to freedom from the roof of the Orange County Central Men’s Jail.
Ravaghi was taken into custody about an hour before the arrest was announced in Orange County. It was unclear whether she had an attorney at the jail.
The Orange County jail escape was the first from the maximum-security lockup in more than 20 years. Ravaghi had worked since 2014 as a part-time instructor of English as a second language in the inmate education program operated by the Rancho Santiago Community College District, the school said in a statement.
One of her students was Hossein Nayeri, 37, ” target=”_blank”>the alleged mastermind of the Orange County incident, was awaiting trial on charges that he kidnapped and tortured a marijuana dispensary owner — finally cutting off his penis — in a bid to learn where he might have cached money.
“There was some type of relationship that developed between the two” that was close, Hallock said, but he didn’t know whether it was a romance.
Ravaghi denied supplied any tools to the jail inmates, but investigators suspect she provided Google maps of Orange County that potentially could have helped the inmates plan their route after fleeing the facility, Hallock said. She travelled in Europe and Asia as a child and attended college in Tehran before coming to California in 1997, where she got a masters’ degree in education and began teaching English to non-native speakers.
She had undergone a sheriff’s background check before beginning her assignment in the Orange County jail, and the college is working closely with sheriff’s officials to provide anything they need, the school’s statement said.
Hallock said investigators believe he and the others — alleged killer Bac Duong, 43, and Jonathan Tieu, 20 — are living in a white GMC Savana van that was stolen on Saturday in southern Los Angeles shortly after the jail escape.
Duong apparently stole the vehicle from someone after responding to a sales ad and taking it for a test drive, Hallock said. “They may be driving around and potentially living in the back” of the van, he said.
Hallock said the ongoing manhunt has led to about 10 arrests so far in connection with the Orange County jail escape, with several other arrests made in connection with unrelated arrest warrants or probation violations. None of those arrests were of Orange County ail employees.
The Orange County jail escape investigation has centred on a Vietnamese gang in the nearby cities of Westminster and Garden Grove with ties to two of the inmates.