By Gillian Flaccus and Amy Taxin, AP
SANTA ANA, California–One of three violent inmates who broke out of a California jail a week ago surrendered Friday and authorities believe the other two may be 640 kilometers (400 miles) north in the San Jose area.
Bac Duong, 43, surrendered in California earlier in the day and told investigators he had been with the other two fugitives, 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu and 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, in San Jose on Thursday and they may be headed to Fresno, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said.
“If they are watching, we want them to understand that we are pressing forward, and we are coming after them,” Hallock said at a news conference, addressing the escapees directly for the first time. “We will take you back into custody.”
Duong was taken into custody in Santa Ana, where the trio made their brazen escape on Jan. 22 from the maximum security facility, authorities said.
It’s not clear how he got back to southern California from San Jose, but early Friday Duong contacted a woman he knew at an auto electric repair shop just a few miles away from the jail, authorities and witnesses said.
Lee Tran, whose family owns Auto Electric Rebuilders, said Duong came to the shop looking for Tran’s sister, Theresa, and told her that he wanted to surrender.
“He was scared for his life, pretty much,” Tran said. “That’s why he asked one of our people to turn him in.”
Tran said his sister called police and Duong stayed outside, smoked a cigarette and waited for police.
“She was crying her head off,” said Trach Tran, her father, who was also there. “Everybody was scared.”
Lee Tran said his sister’s boyfriend knows Duong and federal authorities had come by to speak with her earlier this week because she might have visited Duong in jail.
Shortly after the late-morning arrest, a team of well-armed officers in protective vests swarmed the business.
Tieu and Nayeri are believed to be still together in a white utility van the fugitives stole a day after the escape, and could be headed to Fresno where there may be an associate who can help them, Hallock said.
The three men had all been awaiting trial for separate violent crimes at the Central Men’s Jail. They were held in a dormitory with about 65 other men in the jail about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.