Dangerous Psychiatric Patient Who Escaped Hawaii Hospital Captured In California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Honolulu police say a man who escaped from a psychiatric hospital in Hawaii has been captured in California.

Honolulu CrimeStoppers Sgt. Chris Kim says he was notified that Randall Saito was apprehended Wednesday.

Saito was acquitted of a 1979 murder by reason of insanity and committed to the Hawaii State Hospital in 1981.

Kim says CrimeStoppers received a tip that Saito was headed to a brother’s house in Stockton. Honolulu police then forwarded that information to authorities in Stockton.

Saito left the state hospital outside Honolulu on Sunday at 10 a.m. and didn’t return, police said. Hospital staff called 911 to report his disappearance shortly after 7:30 p.m. — two hours after he landed in San Jose, police said. An all-points bulletin was issued at 8:30 p.m.

He had been committed to the hospital outside Honolulu in 1981, two years after he was acquitted in the killing of Sandra Yamashiro.

The victim was shot and repeatedly stabbed before her body was found in her car at a mall.

“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.

Defense attorneys sought to have Saito released in 2000. But Jeff Albert, a deputy city prosecutor, objected, saying Saito “fills all the criteria of a classic serial killer.”

In 1993, a court denied Saito’s request for conditional release, saying he continued to suffer from sexual sadism and necrophilia.

The state Department of Health operates the hospital, which houses over 300 patients in Kaneohe. The department said it’s investigating the escape.

 

Saito’s escape is just the latest  in a string of dangerous psychiatric patients escaping from other facilities in the United States.

In Washington state in 2016 a man accused of torturing a woman to death broke out of the state’s largest mental hospital. Anthony Garver crawled out of a window of his ground-floor room at Western State Hospital, rode a bus 300 miles to Spokane and was captured days later without incident.

After the escape Washington Gov. Jay Inslee fired the hospital’s CEO and brought in the Corrections Department to inspect the building for security improvements.

A review of police reports by The Associated Press found 185 instances in the 3 ½ years before Garver’s escape in which Western State patients escaped or walked away.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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