Police and federal agents scoured Northern California on Wednesday for a “violent psychopath” accused of murder who escaped a Hawaiian psychiatric hospital this week.
Randall Saito, 59, was acquitted of a gruesome 1979 murder by reason of insanity and committed to Hawaii State Hospital. Police said he escaped from the facility Sunday morning, hopped on a charter plane to Maui and then boarded a Hawaii Airlines flight to San Jose, Calif.
Honolulu police said Saito is considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached.
The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have reviewed security footage from San Jose International Airport in connection with the manhunt, said Jon Vaden, an airport spokesman. He said police have not advised him of any threats at the facility.
Saito was committed to the hospital outside Honolulu in 1981, two years after he was acquitted in the killing of Sandra Yamashiro. Saito randomly chose the victim, shot her in the face and fatally stabbed her, authorities said. Her body was later found in her car at the mall.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A massive, multi-agency manhunt for a man described as a "psychopathic predator" is now focused in California after authorities discovered his well-planned escape from the Hawaii State Hospital included a cab ride, a chartered plane, thousands in cash, and a ticket to San Jose purchased online.
As the manhunt continues, new developments over Randall Saito's past emerge.
Documents from 1993 obtained by Hawaii News Now revealed that Saito had sexual relations with at least three hospital staff members. Saito has been known for his manipulative nature, and sources say sexual relations took place on multiple occasions where he was able to obtain contraband.
There were also growing questions Tuesday about why it took hours for State Hospital staff to report Randall Saito's escape on Sunday.
Saito had fled Oahu to Maui and then boarded a flight to California before law enforcement officials knew the "violent psychopath" was gone.
State Hospital officials declined to elaborate on the timeline surrounding Saito's escape, citing privacy issues and an ongoing investigation. But that didn't stop lawmakers from blasting state officials.
Meanwhile, the state attorney general said Tuesday night that Saito had been charged with felony escape. There's a $500,000 bench warrant for Saito's arrest.
“This is a dangerous individual. We need him off the streets," said state Attorney General Doug Chin. "The state is in close contact with law enforcement to make this happen.
Saito, 59, escaped from the State Hospital about 9 a.m. Sunday, called a cab and picked it up at Kaneohe Community Park.
Surveillance video in the cab clearly shows that when Saito got in he had a backpack stuffed with supplies, including a cell phone with a portable charger. He hadn't had that backpack when he escaped from the State Hospital.
During the ride, Saito is seen texting on the phone, then starts rifling through the backpack as if he's seeing what's inside for the first time.
Sources say that there are other facts that show Saito had planned his escape well in advance: His ticket to California was purchased online, and he paid for both his cab ride and his charter flight in cash, using an assumed name.
After being dropped off at the airport, Saito jumped on a charter plane to Maui, then boarded a Hawaiian Airlines flight for California.
That flight landed about 5:30 p.m. Sunday Hawaii time.
The state Health Department didn't report his escape to authorities until about 7:30 p.m., and authorities put out an alert to the community about 8:20 p.m.
It's not known whether Saito is still in California, though officials have said he has family there.
Federal agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals, have joined the growing manhunt for him.
Authorities have called Saito a "violent psychopath," and prosecutors have argued for years that he should not be unsupervised in the community. He was acquitted by reason of insanity in 1979 of the gruesome murder of a woman at Ala Moana Center.
I am innocent please hear my side of the story. Randall Saito 11-15-2017
More for State Attorney General Doug Chin today charged Randall Saito with felony escape. A $500,000 bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Law enforcement in all 50 U.S. states may enforce an arrest warrant issued by the state. “This is a dangerous individual,” Chin said. “We need him off the streets. The state is in close contact with law enforcement to make this happen.” Saito has been charged with escape in the second degree, a class C felony with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine. Escape in the first degree requires use of force and was not charged in this case. Update: 4:08 p.m. Citing patient privacy laws and a criminal investigation, Hawaii State Hospital officials today declined to offer any reasons why a killer in their care was able to walk out of their Kaneohe facility. RELATED >> State Hospital escapee has history of violence >> Search underway for missing State Hospital patient with violent history But State Hospital administrator William May and Adult Mental Heath Division administrator Mark Fridovich did acknowledge a roughly 8-hour gap between the time Randall Saito was supposed to check back in from unsupervised release within the hospital grounds at 11 a.m. and the time the hospital finally notified the state Department of Public Safety after 7 p.m. The officials said only that an explanation would come out following an investigation of the incident. “Once we determined there was an escape, we called (Public Safety) immediately,” May told reporters at a news conference at state Department of Health headquarters in Honolulu. May pledged to fix whatever went wrong. He also said he would be meeting with the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board to brainstorm about how public notifications can get out into the community faster. Update: 3:51 p.m. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have reviewed security footage from San Jose International Airport in connection with the manhunt for missing Hawaii State Hospital patient Randall Saito, airport spokesman Jon Vaden told the Associated Press. Vaden said police have not advised him of any threats at the airport. He could not confirm that Saito had flown into San Jose International and referred further questions to the Honolulu Police Department, which did not immediately return calls and an email seeking information about his current whereabouts, despite concerns about public safety. Police say Saito escaped from the State Hospital on Oahu, where he had been detained since 1981 after being found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Saito was committed to the hospital in 1981 — two years after killing a woman at Ala Moana Center Update: 2:59 p.m. Maui police said detectives from the department’s Criminal Investigation Division confirmed that missing State Hospital patient Randall Saito arrived on the island Sunday and boarded a flight to California later that day. Police said officers reviewed video footage from the Kahului Airport. Saito is still at large after leaving the grounds of the State Hospital on Oahu Sunday morning. Update: 11:45 a.m. Maui police say missing State Hospital patient Randall Saito boarded a flight from Maui. They did not release the flight’s destination. FBI spokesman Arnold Laanui said its violent crimes task force is assisting in the ongoing search for Saito. Previous coverage: A manhunt for a missing patient from the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe with a violent past has expanded to Maui, and a city prosecutor warns that the man is still a danger decades after his most notorious deadly assault. Randall Saito, 59, left the hospital at about 9 a.m. Sunday and failed to return. Police said he boarded a plane to Maui. His whereabouts are unknown at this time. Saito was acquitted in 1981 of murder by reason of insanity in the slaying of Sandra Yamashiro. In July 1979, Saito fatally shot and stabbed Yamashiro, 29, at the Ala Moana Center parking lot. Experts diagnosed him with sexual sadism and necrophilia and he has been committed to the State Hospital since 1981. Sgt. Chris Kim of Honolulu CrimeStoppers said police are trying to confirm a tip this morning from a Maui woman who reported a man stopped her while she was driving on Dairy Road in Kahului and asked for a ride. She said the man fit the description of Saito. Kim said the woman did not give him a ride. It’s unclear when the man approached her. CrimeStoppers tried to obtain additional information but she abruptly hung up, Kim said. In 2010, a three-member panel of doctors examined Saito to determine whether to grant him unescorted off-grounds privileges to attend programs at the Koolau Clubhouse, which offers rehabilitation services to adults with mental illness. Two of the three doctors on the panel were against unescorted off-grounds privileges. In a letter to Circuit Judge Richard Perkins, Dr. Gene Altman said Saito “presents a substantial risk of danger to others as a result of his current mental state.” In boldfaced text, Altman added: “There are no conditions under which he can be safely allowed unescorted off-grounds privileges without danger to others at this time.” Saito withdrew the motion in 2010, but tried again in 2014. In 2015, Perkins denied Saito’s renewed request for unescorted off-grounds privileges. According to court records, Saito has been escorted to the Koolau Clubhouse, within 2 miles of the State Hospital, to attend programs. Koolau Clubhouse director Michelle Chow declined to comment. Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Tashima who opposed Saito’s motion for unescorted off-grounds privileges, described the 1979 murder as “heinous and brutal.” Because of the nature of Yamashiro’s death, “We still consider (Saito) a high risk of danger even though it’s been 30 years since the crime was committed,” he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today. There is a propensity for him to commit a similar crime, Tashima added. “I just hope they find him soon,” he said. Saito is 6 feet tall with black hair and brown eyes. The public is urged not to approach him. Anyone with information on Saito’s whereabouts is asked to call 911.
This is should be a prospective customer's number one call to action, e.g., requesting a quote or perusing your product catalog.