Mental patient escapes
Saito took a charter plane to Maui, then hopped on a flight to California, before he was reported missing
An escapee from the Hawaii State Hospital, who was committed following the brutal stabbing of a woman at Ala Moana Center on Oahu 38 years ago, flew to Maui and then boarded a flight to Northern California on Sunday, Maui and Honolulu police said.
Randall Toshio Saito, 59, left the State Hospital at 10 a.m. Sunday, took a taxi from Kaneohe facility to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, where he chartered a plane to Maui, Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said Tuesday afternoon.
Maui police confirmed Saito’s arrival at Kahului Airport and his boarding a plane to California on Sunday, based on video footage, said Lt. Gregg Okamoto, Maui police spokesman.
The flight arrived in San Jose at about 5:30 p.m. HST Sunday, Yu said.
It wasn’t until 7:30 p.m. — about two hours after Saito had arrived in San Jose — that State Hospital officials called 911 to report Saito’s disappearance, Yu said. A second-degree escape case was initiated, and an all-points bulletin was issued at 8:30 p.m.
“His current whereabouts are unknown,” Okamoto said.
Yu said Saito is believed to be in San Jose. FBI and U.S. Marshals Service officials said they have reviewed security footage from San Jose International Airport in connection with the manhunt, but they did not confirm his arrival.
Attorney General Doug Chin announced Tuesday night that his office charged Saito with felony escape and that a $500,000 bench warrant has been issued for his arrest. Law enforcement authorities in all 50 states may enforce an arrest warrant issued by Hawaii.
The charge, a class C felony, car-
ries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“This is a dangerous individual,” Chin said in a news release. “We need him off the streets. The state is in close contact with law enforcement to make this happen.”
The FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force is participating in the investigation, Special Agent Arnold Laanui said Tuesday. He could not provide any more information about the case, though he did say the FBI was involved because of Saito’s unlawful flight to avoid confinement and the possible multistate or international search for him.
Saito could face federal violations as well, he said. The FBI provides general assistance to local law enforcement if a subject crosses state or international lines.
Lorie Dankers, TSA spokeswoman, had no comment Tuesday when asked about how Saito might have gotten through security checks at Kahului Airport. She referred questions to the FBI.
A state Department of Transportation official said Tuesday that passengers on chartered flights do not undergo the rigorous scrutiny that commercial flyers do.
The state Department of Health, which is responsible for managing the State Hospital, said Monday that it was investigating areas of improvement in preventing escapes.
“The Hawaii State Hospital staff takes all escapes seriously and has safeguards in place to minimize the chances of these (escapes) from occurring,” the news release said.
The Health Department declined to provide more information about Saito or the escape due to privacy requirements.
“We are also aware of the need to support the safety of the public and per protocol, any escape is reported to law enforcement to expedite searches for patients, including the patient who escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital on Sunday,” the Health Department said.
Saito was committed to the hospital in 1981, two years after being acquitted of murder by reason of insanity in the apparent random killing of Sandra Yamashiro. The victim was shot and repeatedly stabbed before her body was found in her car at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
“He is a very dangerous individual,” said Wayne Tashima, a Honolulu prosecutor who argued in 2015 against Saito receiving passes to leave the hospital grounds without an escort. He warned people not to approach Saito, saying there’s a concern he could commit the same “very heinous and violent offense” again.
In 1993, a court denied Saito’s request for conditional release, saying he continued to suffer from sexual sadism and necrophilia.
If anyone has information about Saito’s whereabouts, contact Maui police at 2446400, the state Department of Public Safety Sheriff’s Department at (808) 587-3623 or call 911 in an emergency.
Randall Saito is shown in a taxi after leaving the Hawaii State Hospital on Sunday morning. The man, who was acquitted of murder by reason of insanity, flew to Maui on a chartered plane before making his way to San Jose, Calif.