Manhunt underway for escaped murderer and other prisoners in Southern California
Image: Barbed wire atop a prison fence (

An accused murderer and two other California prisoners were still at large on Sunday after breaking out of the Orange County jail as a massive manhunt for the trio entered its third day, authorities said.

Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, escaped the jail in Orange County and were last seen early Friday morning, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said in a statement on Sunday.

"The three escapees ... are dangerous criminals," she said.

The trio cut through steel bars, climbed through a plumbing tunnel and used bedsheets to lower themselves down four stories before disappearing, the Orange County Register reported.

Authorities said they were still uncertain whether the prisoners had any outside help in making their escape, the newspaper said.

"All indications are that the inmates escaped the jail and have fled the area," the sheriff's department said in a statement on Friday.

The daring jailbreak recalled the escape of two convicted murderers from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York last year. A three-week manhunt for the pair ended with the fatal shooting of one of the inmates and the capture of the second a mile from the Canadian border.

Nayeri, an Iranian, is one of four people accused of kidnapping and torturing a marijuana dispensary owner, the Register said. He has been held in the jail without bail since September 2014 after being arrested by the FBI in Prague.

Tieu has been held at the facility since October 2013, charged with a murder that authorities believe was gang-related.

Duong has been held at the jail without bail since last month, charged with attempted murder and other counts.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty in New York and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)