The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is seeking the public’s help after accidentally releasing a murder suspect this Saturday.
According to Southern California Public Radio, the LASD did not realize Steven Lawrence Wright, 37, was gone until approximately 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. The mistake occurred because of a five-day contempt of court charge Wright was being held on that was issued on January 26, in addition to being held on murder charges. Once the contempt or court charges expired, he was erroneously set free.
“We are going to be relentless in our pursuit of recapturing him,” Sheriff’s Department Commander Keith Swensson told KPCC.
Wright had reportedly been arrested in Pasadena in April 2011 in connection with a gang-related murder that took place in January of that year.
In related news, this past Sunday, the last two of three inmates who had escaped from an Orange County Jail eight days earlier were returned to prison. The third escapee, a Vietnamese man named Bac Duong, had surrendered himself on Friday.
The Los Angeles Times reports that days before their arrest and surrender, Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Duong, 43, had hijacked a taxi, taking the driver hostage at gunpoint, and driving hundreds of miles away to San Jose.
Nayeri, who is of Iranian origin, is facing trial on kidnap and torture charges, and reportedly wanted to kill the driver and “bury his body.” However, Duong, who has reportedly been charged with attempted murder, refused to kill the man.
According to the Orange County Register, Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, an ESL teacher who worked in the jail, was accused last week of helping the men plan their escape. However, Orange County prosecutors declined to file charges against her.
Investigators reportedly also found “love letters” written by Nayeri and addressed to Ravaghi, although the Register notes Ravaghi did not respond to them.
The Register provides a detailed timeline of the events which took place during their escape and leading up to their capture.
As of Tuesday, inmate Wright is still at large and anyone with information is asked to call the Major Crimes Bureau at (562) 946-7231. Information may also be left anonymously by calling “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.