Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens speaks about three inmates who escaped the Central Men's Jail during a press conference in Santa Ana, Calif., Jan. 27, 2016.
Photo by Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register/AP

Prison teacher arrested in connection with inmates’ escape


An English teacher working at a California jail has been arrested for allegedly helping in the escape of three inmates who cut through bars and rappelled from a rooftop last week, authorities said.

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, was arrested Thursday afternoon and investigators believe she provided Google maps and other materials to help the three inmates prepare for the Friday escape from the Orange County Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana.

“It’s clear now that there was some assistance on the inside,” Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock told reporters.

Ravaghi will be charged with aiding in the escape, he said.

Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, remain on the loose and investigators believe they may be living out of a white GMC Savannah van that was stolen Sunday, Hallock said.

RELATED: Manhunt expands for ‘dangerous’ trio after daring jailbreak

Ravaghi taught English as a second language classes at the Orange County Central Men’s Jail and Nayeri was a student in several classes, Hallock said.

“We’re continuing to investigate the nature of their relationship,” Hallock said. He said couldn’t say whether Ravaghi knew about the plan to escape.

Ravaghi denies bringing any tools into the jail, but the maps could have helped the inmates study the roof of the building and the surrounding area, Hallock said.

Ravaghi was a teacher contracted with the Rancho Santiago Community College district and taught classes at the jail since around July, Hallock said.

All three inmates are accused of violent crimes but had not been convicted. Nayeri is charged with allegedly taking part in the sadistic torture and sexual mutilation of a licensed marijuana dispensary owner in 2012.

Nayeri successfully fled the country and lived for several months in Iran, but was captured by the FBI in Prague in 2013.

Tieu, a reputed gang member, is charged with murder and other charges for his alleged role in a deadly drive-by shooting in 2011. Duong is charged with attempted murder and other counts stemming from a November shooting in Santa Ana.

Investigators believe Duong stole the van from a private seller in Southern Los Angeles Sunday. Hallock said investigators believe that all three are still together.

Police have arrested around 10 people “directly connected to the investigation” into the escape, Hallock said. A reward of $200,000 has been offered for information leading to the inmates’ recapture.

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Prison teacher arrested in connection with inmates' escape