National

How did this escaped killer get to Maui then to California undetected?

By Mandy Matney

mmatney@islandpacket.com

Randall Saito, the killer who escaped to San Jose, is wanted by authorities. The photo on the right shows him in a taxi surveillance video on November 12, 2017
Randall Saito, the killer who escaped to San Jose, is wanted by authorities. The photo on the right shows him in a taxi surveillance video on November 12, 2017

An escaped Hawaii man who “fits the criteria of a classic serial killer” was arrested in Northern California Wednesday after he caught a flight from Maui Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

Randall Saito, who was acquitted of murder in 1981 after pleading insanity, escaped Hawaii State Hospital at 9 a.m. Sunday, according to the Honolulu Police Department. He was taken into custody in San Joaquin County, Calif. after a four-day manhunt.

Saito made it from Hawaii to San Jose two hours before hospital staff reported him missing, according to the Associated Press.

Saito, who police describe as “extremely dangerous,” had an elaborate escape plan involving cash, supplies, and a scheduled chartered plane.

Saito was known at the psychiatric hospital as a master manipulator who is good “at getting people to do what he wants,” a staff member told Hawaii News Now. He previously had sexual relations with at least three staff members, according to 1993 documents obtained by Hawaii News Now.

He left the hospital empty-handed without sounding any alarm, The Washington Post reported. Saito then walked a mile to a community park where he called a cab and got in a cab with a backpack filled with supplies, including a phone.

Surveillance footage showed Saito texting on the phone in the cab on the way to the airport, Hawaii News Now reports.

The 59-year-old killer paid the cab driver in cash and was dropped off at an airport hangar where he left in a charter plane to Maui after changing his clothes, according to The Washington Post.

He paid $1,500 for the chartered plane ticket, according to Maui Now. Unlike commercial planes, chartered planes don’t require TSA security checks, USA Today reported.

Saito landed in Maui just after 11:30 a.m. and likely got through security using an alias, Hawaii News Now reports.

He landed in San Jose, where he reportedly has family members, Sunday evening, hours before he was reported missing, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have joined police in the manhunt, the Associated Press reported.

Hospital authorities told reporters in a press conference they couldn’t comment on the details of how exactly Saito escaped the hospital and why it took the hospital so long to report him missing because of privacy laws and the ongoing criminal investigation.

Saito had been living at the psychiatric hospital since 1981 when he was acquitted by reason of insanity of the murder of a 29-year-old woman, the Associated Press reported.

In July 1979, Saito shot Sandra Yamashiro in a mall parking lot, then “repeatedly stabbed her with a knife,” according to court records obtained by The Honolulu Star Advertiser.

He was diagnosed with sexual sadism and necrophilia, which means he is sexually attracted to corpses, according to The Honolulu Star Adviser. A judge previously denied Saito his release from the mental hospital as authorities said he “fills all the criteria of a classic serial killer.”

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