Orange County jail escape leads to arrest of teacher

According to media reports Friday, a woman who taught English classes at a Southern California jail was arrested Thursday on suspicion of helping three inmates — including an alleged killer — escape the lockup, and the men are believed to be riding around in a stolen van.

Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44 was arrested nearly a week after the men — one an alleged killer — cut their way through steel bars, climbed through plumbing tunnels, made their way to the roof, cut razor wire and, using rope made of braided bedsheets, rappelled four stories to freedom from the roof of the Orange County Central Men’s Jail. The escape on Jan. 22 wasn’t noticed for 16 hours.

This undated photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department shows Nooshafarin Ravaghi. Ravaghi, 44, who taught English classes at Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., was was arrested Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, on suspicion of helping three inmates escape the lockup. She was arrested nearly a week after the men — one an alleged killer — cut their way out of the jail and rappelled down an outside wall last Friday. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)

This undated photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department shows Nooshafarin Ravaghi. Ravaghi, 44, who taught English classes at Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana, Calif., was was arrested Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, on suspicion of helping three inmates escape the lockup. She was arrested nearly a week after the men — one an alleged killer — cut their way out of the jail and rappelled down an outside wall last Friday. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

It was the first escape from the maximum-security lockup in more than 20 years, reports Yahoo.

Ravaghi of Lake Forest,  was taken into custody about an hour before the arrest was announced Thursday afternoon and remained jailed. It was unclear whether she had an attorney.

She 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.

Related:  Orange County jail escape:  Search Continues

One of her students was Hossein Nayeri, 37, the alleged mastermind of the escape, who was awaiting trial on charges that he kidnapped and tortured a marijuana dispensary owner — finally cutting off his ***** — in a bid to learn where he might have cached money.

This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 43-year-old Bac Duong, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)

This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 43-year-old Bac Duong, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)

This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, who is charged with murder; Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP)

This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, shows 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu, one of three jail inmates charged with violent crimes, who escaped from the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana, Calif. The men include Tieu, who is charged with murder; 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, charged with kidnapping and torture; and 43-year-old Bac Duong, charged with attempted murder. Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said Saturday that the inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. and could have escaped anytime between then and late Friday night. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

“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 inmates, but investigators suspect she provided Google maps that potentially could have helped the inmates plan their route after fleeing the jail, Hallock said.

According to a personal website that sells children’s books designed by Ravaghi under the name “the Noosha Collection,” she was born, like Nayeri, in Iran.

She traveled 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 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.

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 escape, with several other arrests made in connection with unrelated arrest warrants or probation violations. None of those arrests were of jail employees.

The investigation has centered on a Vietnamese gang in the nearby cities of Westminster and Garden Grove with ties to two of the inmates.