Matthew Hay-Chapman, a San Francisco homeless man, was instrumental in leading authorities to two fugitives who had escaped from the maximum-security Orange County men’s jail in Santa Ana nine days earlier. He will receive a reward of $100,000, representing two-thirds of the total reward money offered for information and the eventual capture of three escaped convicts.
Hay-Chapman, 55, had been out of work for over 15 years due to chronic back pain sustained from an injury in 2000. Most recently he was residing in the botanical garden of Golden Gate Park. His daily routine consisted of getting a morning coffee at a nearby McDonalds and checking the news online at libraries or reading newspapers he found in the garbage so he could keep up on current events. It was the pairing of these two activities that will allow Hay-Chapman to once again have a roof over his head and regular meals every day.
One morning on his way to get a cup of joe, Hay-Chapman spotted a white van in an otherwise empty parking lot with people sleeping inside. He kept his eye on the van and when a person emerged he immediately recognized the individual as Hossein Nayeri, one of the Santa Ana jail escapees he had seen in the paper. Hay-Chapman quickly notified police, who were just one block away from the scene.
Nayeri and accomplice Jonathan Tieu were soon caught. Their third cohort, Bac Tien Duong, had separated from the group to return to Santa Ana and turn himself in.
Hay-Chapman has been down on his luck for a long time, but his plans for the reward money include helping his disabled daughter who suffered a brain hemorrhage at birth and his son who has lost custody of his children due to his struggles with drug addiction.