Cab Driver Held Captive by O.C. Jail Escapees: ‘Dead or Alive — It’s Up to God’

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The cab driver picked up the three men outside a restaurant in Garden Grove about 9:30 p.m., around the time that panicked Orange County Sheriff's officials realized they had a jailbreak on their hands.

Cab driver Long Hoang Ma was kidnapped and made to drive the three escaped fugitives from Orange County over the course of several days, he says. (Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)

Cab driver Long Hoang Ma was kidnapped and made to drive the three escaped fugitives from Orange County over the course of several days, he says. (Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)

The driver, Long Hoang Ma, 71, had received a phone call on Jan. 22 summoning him to the location. This was not unusual; he advertised in the Vietnamese-language papers.

He picked up three passengers. Authorities — who identified the men as Hossein Nayeri, 37, Bac Duong, 43, and Jonathan Tieu, 20 — say the three had rappelled from the roof of the nearby county jail in Santa Ana, where they were awaiting trial on charges of violent felonies.

For the next week, Ma said, he was their captive. They chain-smoked together in a tiny motel room. He slept beside them. He accompanied them across the state. He listened to them argue about whether to kill him. He wondered whether he would survive.

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