Men­tal pa­tient es­capes

Saito took a char­ter plane to Maui, then hopped on a flight to Cal­i­for­nia, be­fore he was re­ported miss­ing

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - The Maui News and The Associated Press

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

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.

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