Since July, the South Dakota Department of Corrections has asked for help finding eleven inmates, who have walked away from minimum security facillities. However there was a missing detail in the department's most recent alert.
The description listed Travis Thorngren as a white male, 5-feet-10 inches tall and weighs approximately 200 lbs. He has brown hair and blue eyes. The description does not list a key detail about Thorngren; he is in a wheelchair.
"That was just information that was not completely shared from one person to the other and I, it was an oversight in our area, and yeah," South Dakota Secretary of Corrections Denny Kaemingk said.
As part of the Paroled Pups program, Thorngren was a dog handler.
Kaemingk said Thorngren is a low risk offender and that he has been at a minimum security facility since February. He and other inmates are part of a program which allows them to leave, because they have jobs in the community to help them transition out of prison. He left the prison Monday night and did not return.
"If we simply would keep someone for the length of their sentence and simply open the door, I don't believe that'd be very responsible. We're charged with giving them the tools necessary for survival on the street," Denny Kaemingk said.
There are four minimum security facilities in the state that hold about 2,500 low risk inmates per year. 29 have failed to report back, or went missing, in the last three years. Authorities have found all but six of them. Kaemingk would not say if he believes Thorngren is still in the area, but authorities are investigating leads.
HIPAA prevents Kaemingk telling KELOLAND News why Thorngren is in a wheelchair, but said Thorngren does not have a violent history, and is not listed as being dangerous.
"Anybody that is running from law enforcement, I believe you have to put a certain amount of risk from that. If you look at his past, the past is a very good predictor of the future," Kaemingk said.
Thorngren will face new felony charges for not returning to his unit.