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Fugitives who escaped from re-entry program nabbed

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SAN DIEGO — Two women who walked away from a Linda Vista halfway house designed to help qualifying convicts transition back into society were back in prison Tuesday, a week after they went on the lam.

Tumoi King, 28, and Viviana Mendez, 20, removed electronic location monitors from their ankles and left the Community Transitional Reentry Program facility on Jan. 4, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Agents with the CDCR Special Service Unit arrested Mendez at a La Mesa motel early Saturday and captured King at Fremont-area inn on Monday morning, officials said. The pair were processed into the California Institution for Women in Corona and the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, respectively.

King had been participating in the transitional-release program, which allows eligible convicts to serve the ends of their sentences in a community program in lieu of penitentiary confinement, since November 2014. Mendez had been taking part in it for four months.

The program provides a range of rehabilitative services that assist with alcohol and drug recovery, employment, education, housing, family reunification and social support.

King had begun a five-year sentence in February 2014 for a Riverside County robbery conviction and was scheduled to be paroled in October of this year.

Mendez, convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in Yolo County, started serving a seven-year prison term in October 2014. She was slated to be paroled in February 2017.

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