‘Psychopathic predator' escapes psych hospital, boards flight to California

HONOLULU (CBS SF/AP) — Authorities were searching Tuesday for a man described by a prosecutor as fitting the profile of a serial killer who escaped from the state’s psychiatric hospital outside Honolulu and was believed to have headed to the Bay Area.

Randall Saito, who was found not guilty of a 1979 murder by reason of insanity, left Hawaii State Hospital Sunday.

Maui County police said the 59-year-old Saito flew to Maui, but they didn’t know where he was.

Published reports in Hawaii say Saito later boarded a Hawiian Airlines flight to San Jose.

A law enforcement source told KPIX 5 that Saito was in Stockton, California on Monday, but that his location was unknown on Tuesday.

San Jose airport spokesman Jon Vaden said the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have reviewed security footage from Mineta San Jose International Airport in connection with the manhunt for Saito.

Vaden said police have not informed him of any threats at the airport.

“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.

Tashima warned people not to approach Saito, saying there’s a concern he could commit the same “very heinous and violent offense” again. Authorities asked anyone with information on Saito to call police.

Saito was committed to the hospital in 1981 after being acquitted by reason of insanity of the murder of Sandra Yamashiro. She had been shot and repeatedly stabbed before her body was found in her car at a Honolulu shopping mall.

Defense attorneys sought to have Saito released in 2000. But Jeff Albert, a deputy city prosecutor, objected, calling Saito “a psychopathic predator whose mental condition continues to represent a serious danger to the community.”

Albert also said at the time that 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.

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