KEY POINTS

  • Nine inmates escaped from a minimum-security prison in South Dakota after learning that a prisoner tested positive for COVID-19
  • The prisoners bolted the Pierre Community Work Center without authorization by “exiting an exterior door”
  • Out of the nine escapees, three were captured Tuesday
  • Another escaped convict had previously been captured

Nine female prisoners sentenced to a minimum-security penitentiary in South Dakota escaped late Monday after learning that a separate prisoner has tested positive for COVID-19.

The escapees bolted the Pierre Community Work Center without authorization by “exiting an exterior door” following the news that one inmate was in isolation after contracting the deadly virus.

Authorities first identified eight escaped inmates, but Governor Kristi Noem later confirmed at a news conference that they were actually nine when asked about the convicts' exposure to COVID-19, said Fox News, citing a report by KOTA TV.

woman in handcuffs
23-year-old Sabita Dookram was arrested for allegedly throwing her newborn baby outside a bathroom window. Getty Images/John Moore

Noem further added that the women were from the same unit, but officials have yet to confirm if “they were in close proximity to each other.”

Out of the nine escapees, three were captured Tuesday, said NBC News.

The South Dakota Department of Corrections posted a tweet saying that Kelsey Flute, 30, Pamela Miller, 28 and Jordan Wakeman, 27, are in custody on Crow Creek Reservation.

Another escaped convict had previously been captured, a Corrections Department official told NBC News.

Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said at least one of the captured prisoners has been tested for COVID-19 with officials waiting for the results.

The five remaining escapees are Philomene Boneshirt, 25; Alice Richards, 32; Sylvia Red Leaf, 25; Kayla Lamont, 25 and Carly Schoeman, 23.

The women will face felony escape charges that could spell a five-year prison sentence, said Fox News.

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