A “violent psychopath” was captured Wednesday, days after he sneaked out of a Hawaii psychiatric hospital, hopped in a taxi, snagged a seat on a charter flight to Maui and slipped aboard a jet to California.
Randall Toshio Saito was arrested in Stockton, Calif., on Wednesday after Honolulu law enforcement received a tip that he was heading to his brother’s home, Honolulu CrimeStoppers Sgt. Chris Kim said. Authorities forwarded the tip to Stockton police, where they took him in to custody.
Saito, 59, who was acquitted of a 1979 murder by reason of insanity, escaped Hawaii State Hospital outside of Honolulu on Sunday at 10 a.m. and walked a mile to Kaneohe Community Park where he caught a taxi that took him to a chartered plane, Hawaii News Now reported. Surveillance video showed Saito, who told the driver his name was “Bill,” go into the vehicle.
“Hi Bill. How are you?” the driver asked, to which Saito replied, “Great. Oh, my God. Quite a walk.”
Police said Saito took the chartered plane to Maui, where he boarded another flight to San Jose, Calif. Hospital staff members called 911 to report Saito’s disappearance about 7:30 p.m. Sunday — two hours after his flight arrived in San Jose, police said. It’s unclear why it took hours for the staff to report the missing patient or what reason Saito had given to leave the hospital.
Details about Saito’s “violent psychopath” personality, which deputy city prosecutor Jeff Albert once said “fills all the criteria of a classic serial killer,” have emerged in the days following his successfully carried out his well-planned escape. Saito was admitted to the hospital in 1981, two years after he was acquitted for killing Sandra Yamashiro. He shot Yamashiro and repeatedly stabbed her before dumping her body in a parked car at a mall.
At the hospital, Saito had sexual relations with at least three hospital staff members, who he allegedly manipulated to get contraband, according to 1993 documents obtained by Hawaii News Now. A court also denied his request for a conditional release the same year, saying he continued to suffer from sexual sadism and necrophilia.
“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 added that Saito could commit the same “very heinous and violent offense” he was acquitted of because “he still has ability, or inherent ability, to do another murder or violent crime.”
Sources told Hawaii News Now that Saito purchased his plane ticket to California online and paid for his taxi ride and charter flight in cash. He left the hospital with no supplies, but hopped in the cab with a backpack of supplies, including an iPhone and portable charger. He was spotted on surveillance video texting.
On the charter plane, he swapped his old clothes before getting to the airport. He used an alias to breeze through security lines, according to Hawaii News Now.
The state Department of Health operates the hospital, which houses over 300 patients in Kaneohe. The department said it’s investigating the escape. The FBI and U.S. Marshals are working to track Saito in California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.