9 escape from S. Dakota jail where there was a positive coronavirus test

David K. Li and Phil Helsel

Three female inmates who escaped from a South Dakota jail where a prisoner had tested positive for the coronavirus were returned to custody Tuesday, authorities said.

They were among nine women who bolted from the minimum-security unit of the Pierre Community Work Center on Monday evening.

Kelsey Flute, 30, Jordan Wakeman, 27, and Pamela Miller, 28, were taken into custody Tuesday on Crow Creek Reservation, the South Dakota Department of Corrections said in a tweet.

One prisoner had previously been captured, a Corrections Department official said.

The state corrections department said in a statement earlier Tuesday that the nine women left without authorization "by exiting an exterior door."

The five remaining missing inmates are: Philomene Boneshirt, 25; Sylvia Red Leaf, 25; Alice Richards, 32; Kayla Lamont, 28; and Carly Schoneman, 23.

One inmate of the Pierre Community Work Center has tested positive for the coronavirus and is in isolation, officials said. She was said to be in isolation and doing well.

Gov. Kristi Noem said at a news conference earlier Tuesday that all the woman who escaped were from the same unit, but “we don’t know if they were in close proximity to each other yet.”

Noem said that the state is following all CDC and health department guidelines and “we are taking every precaution possible.”