Orange County Sheriff's Department

Teacher Released in Orange County Inmates Jailbreak Investigation

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, a teacher at the jail, was freed Monday after her arrest in connection with a jailbreak Jan. 22 in Santa Ana

An English teacher who was arrested for allegedly helping three inmates escape from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana will be freed Monday, with District Attorney Tony Rackauckas saying there's insufficient evidence to charge her with a crime.

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, of Lake Forest, was arrested Thursday for allegedly providing materials such as Google Earth aerial maps of the jail complex to one of the inmates -- Hossein Nayeri, 37, of Newport Beach. Nayeri took English classes from Ravaghi at the jail, and sheriff's officials said he developed a close relationship with the teacher.

Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu, 20, of Fountain Valley, and Bac Duong, 43, of Santa Ana, escaped from the jail Jan. 22. Duong surrendered Friday in Santa Ana, while Nayeri and Tieu were arrested Saturday morning in San Francisco.

Rackauckas said Ravaghi will be released on her own recognizance, although authorities plan to hold her passport to ensure she does not leave the country.

"She's being cooperative," Rackauckas said. "She has every reason to stay."

Ravaghi works for the Rancho Santiago Community College District and had been teaching English-as-a-second-language classes at the jail since July 2014, according to the sheriff's department. She is also an associate faculty member at Saddleback College, according to the Mission Viejo college's website.

Nayeri and Tieu were returned from San Francisco to Santa Ana about 1 a.m., according to Orange County sheriff's Capt. Jeff Hallock. Police arrested the two Saturday morning after being tipped off by someone who spotted a white van they were using in the parking lot of a Whole Foods Market.

Duong was arrested Friday, a week after the Jan. 22 jailbreak, in the 1400 block of North Harbor Boulevard. He walked into a business called Auto Electric Rebuilders, which is owned by an acquaintance of Duong, and said he wanted to surrender. The business owner's wife called 911, and sheriff's deputies responded and arrested Duong.

Investigators had said they believed the three escapees were living out of a stolen white GMC van while on the run. Hallock said all three escapees were spotted Thursday in San Jose, but Duong somehow made his way back to Santa Ana to surrender.

The district attorney said another man -- Loc Ba Nguyen -- is expected to be charged with assisting the escape by smuggling tools and other materials used in the escape into the jail. His relationship with the inmates wasn't immediately clear. Rackauckas said he was not an inmate or employee of the jail.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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