All but one of the 13 inmates who recently escaped a tribal jail on the Fort Peck Reservation have been recaptured by law enforcement, according to the tribes' police chief.
The Fort Peck Tribal Court first disclosed the multiple escapes a month ago in a brief post on its Facebook page, asking residents to be on the lookout for the 13 people who escaped and listing their first and last names.
A week later, seven had been returned to the jail, Stacie Smith, chief judge for the tribes, previously told The Gazette.
Tribal Police Chief Jim Summers said Thursday only one of the escapees remains unaccounted for. Summers said he was not authorized to provide the man's name or whether he represented a possible danger to the community. The tribes' chairman, Floyd Azure, has not returned repeated phone calls requesting more information on the escapes.
Summers stressed that there wasn't a single large breakout, but that most of the escapees had failed to return after getting permission to leave the jail. He declined to comment on whether any of the inmates had broken out of the facility.
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"Some of these were just walkaways, getting medical treatments at the local clinics," Summers said.
He said he couldn't speak to what actions the jail was taking to prevent further escapes, and noted that his job is to locate and arrest the escapees. The jail is operated separately from the police department.
He said the escapes didn't happen all at once, but over a period of multiple weeks prior to the tribal court announcing that the inmates had gone missing.
An employee at the Fort Peck Adult Corrections center declined to provide her name or any details of the incidents and jail's operation. She referred press inquiries to corrections director Ron Jackson, who she said wouldn't be back in the office for another week.
Calls to Smith and to the tribes' chief prosecutor requesting comment were not returned.