UPDATE BREAKING: Saito Landed in California 2 Hours Before Being Reported Missing
Update 5 p.m.: Honolulu Police Department issued an updated statement confirming 59-year-old Randall Saito escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital on Sunday morning and is believed to currently be in Northern California.
Saito was committed to the hospital after being acquitted for first-degree murder in 1981.
Honolulu police say that on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at 10 a.m. HST, Saito left the State Hospital and did not return.
“It has been determined that he took a taxi from Kaneohe to Honolulu, where he chartered a plane to Maui. From Maui, Saito boarded a plane to San Jose, California. Saito arrived in San Jose around 5:30 p.m. HST on Sunday. Staff from the State Hospital called 911 to report Saito’s disappearance shortly after 7:30 p.m. HST. A second-degree escape case was initiated, and an all-points bulletin was issued at 8:30 p.m. HST.”
Saito is considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached. Anyone who sees him or has information on his whereabouts should call the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, (808)723-3609, or Honolulu Crime Stoppers, (808)955-8300. The public may also contact their local law enforcement agency.
Earlier this afternoon, Department of Health administrators spoke to reporters in a press conference streamed by Hawaii News Now.
State Hospital administrator William May and Adult Mental Heath Division administrator Dr. Mark Fridovich cited privacy laws and that they couldn’t provide details about Saito’s escape because it’s a criminal investigation.
According to our sources, Saito arrived on Maui aboard a chartered flight, paying $1500 for the ticket. He was only on Maui for about an hour and a half before he purchased a ticket to board a flight bound for San Jose, California, possibly using another name, sources tell Maui Now.
According to the website Flightaware, the flight Saito was reportedly on landed in San Jose at 7:19 p.m. PST, or 5:19 p.m. HST.
During this afternoons press conference, hospital administrator May said a Nixle alert went out around 8 p.m. HST Sunday. When a reporter asked when the hospital notified law enforcement about the escape, May said, “30 minutes prior to it going out.”
One reporter asked May, “Why did it take your office, your department that long to inform law enforcement that he was missing?”
“I’m not going to make any assumptions, I’m going to wait for the criminal investigation and administrative investigation to see exactly what happened,” May answered.
Another reporter asked if it was current hospital policy to immediately notify law enforcement if a patient doesn’t check-in when they’re supposed to.
“Once we have determined there is an escape, Honolulu Police Department is called first — immediately,” May added. “So if they’re not called immediately, then someone wasn’t following procedure?” the reporter asked. “We can’t provide that information because it’s a criminal investigation,” May added.
Before reporters could ask questions, Dr. Fridovich provided insight about the facility saying the following:
“The hospital’s responsibility is assessment treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with mental health disorders and individuals referred by Hawaii courts. It’s not a custodial environment, it’s not a prison environment—where people are locked up for periods of time—regardless. We have the obligation to treat individuals in the least restrictive setting and that means as part of their rehabilitation, affording them the opportunity to explore relative autonomy and some independence around their movement. They’re not just locked up, they’re not just subject to treatment and medication—but they’re given opportunities to pursue individual interests and individual activities.”
May also noted that the hospital has enforced newer safety features over the last two years, but stated, “I think there may be faster ways on getting the message out to the community. I talked to the Chairman of the Kaneohe neighborhood board and we agreed to partner and brainstorm to see if there are additional, valuable alternatives to get the message out to the community as quick as possible.”
May added that patients are assessed by professional, credentialed clinicians and that they “want to treat them in the least restrictive setting—based on that clinical assessment—there are various levels of privileges those patients have.”
May also added that the staff is being retrained on policy and procedures to make sure “they do follow everything that is supposed to be done, I can guarantee were doing everything we can to minimize the possibility of this happening again.”
When asked if the escape could have been an inside job, Dr. Fridovich replied, “We cannot speculate—that’s one of the reasons why it’s very important we focus on the criminal investigation–it’s one of the possible reasons.”
May added, “We’re fully cooperating with law enforcement and if it is an inside job, then appropriate steps will be taken once that is determined.”
“There are people monitoring security cameras—I’m not going to make the assumption that he left through the gate— its not a completely secure campus—there are monitors, hundreds of cameras, and had someone seen him walk away then they would have sounded the alarm,” May said.
May was asked how many people monitored the more than dozen cameras at the facility, May responded, “one.”
May and Dr. Fridovich stated this is the second escape at the hospital so far this year.
Previous Post: Sources tell Maui Now that a man who escaped from the Hawaiʻi State Hospital on Sunday, was only on Maui for a short while before boarding another flight for the mainland.
According to our sources, 59-year-old Randall Toshio Saito arrived on Maui aboard a chartered flight, paying $1500 for the ticket. He was only on Maui for about an hour and a half before he purchased a ticket to board a flight bound for San Jose, California, possibly using another name, sources tell Maui Now.
While on Maui, he was reportedly observed walking through the Transportation Security Administration departure screening area.
Maui Now reached out to police for an update this morning and were informed that authorities are “actively looking” for Saito, and continue to “encourage the public to call with any information.” A subsequent press release at 11 a.m. indicates that Saito did indeed “catch a flight off-island.”
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that Saito was diagnosed with sexual sadism and necrophilia. He reportedly killed a woman at the Ala Moana Center in 1979, but was acquitted by reason of insanity.
Saito is described as 6’ tall, heavy set with black hair and brown eyes.
*Check back for updates. We will continue to update this post with additional information as it becomes available. Click here for our previous post on this topic.
(Story by Wendy Osher. Maui Now’s Nikki Schenfeld also contributed to this report)