STOCKTON (KRON) – Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito has been arrested in San Joaquin County.
San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Deputies said they arrested Randall Saito, the Hawaii State Hospital escapee, at approximately 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The arrest was made as the result of a tip received from an alert taxi cab driver.
Saito was arrested in the area of Highway 99 and Waterloo Road in Stockton outside of Ernie’s Liquor/Grocery Deli.
Ernest Giannecchini, who works at the store, told KRON4 that the suspect was inside of a Yellow cab that pulled up to get gas.
The driver got out and began pumping gas when multiple sheriffs vehicles and unmarked cars circled around the taxi cab, where Saito was still sitting inside.
Deputies made the arrest was made without incident.
After the arrest, the cab driver went back into the store and was visibly shaken, Giannecchini said.
The driver told Giannecchini that he was on his way to Reno.
The arrest came hours after the Hawaii Attorney General’s office charged Saito with felony escape and issued a $500,000 bench warrant for his arrest.
There, he got on an airliner and arrived in San Jose, California. He arrived there several hours before the hospital reported him missing to authorities.
Honolulu police received a tip that Saito was on his way to a brother’s home in Stockton, California, said Honolulu CrimeStoppers Sgt. Chris Kim. That tip was forwarded to authorities in Stockton, Kim said.
Saito was committed to the hospital outside Honolulu in 1981, two years after he was acquitted in the killing of Sandra Yamashiro by reason of insanity.
The victim was shot and repeatedly stabbed before her body was found in her car at a mall.
Saito was also later diagnosed with sexual sadism and necrophilia. He had sought release from the hospital for years but was denied.
“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.
Manhunt for Hawaii fugitive Randall Saito ends at market in Stockton. Arrested without incident based on tip from Cab Company. Store clerk says Saito was headed for Reno. He’s in San Joaquin County jail awaiting extradition back to Hawaii. pic.twitter.com/UbCC635kRc
— @Rob Fladeboe kron4 (@KRON4RFladeboe) November 15, 2017
Employees of a Hawaii psychiatric hospital will be placed on unpaid leave for 30 days while authorities investigate how a patient who was tried for murder escaped and flew to California over the weekend.
The suspensions come after Randall Saito left the Hawaii State Hospital on Sunday morning. He was arrested in California on Wednesday after taking two flights to get there.
Hawaii Department of Health Director Virginia Pressler says an internal investigation indicates employees inadvertently or intentionally neglected proper notification of supervisors and proper supervision of Saito.
It took the hospital at least eight hours to notify law enforcement that he was missing.
Pressler says the escape was a major breakdown of staff protocols.
Gov. David Ige says authorities and the public should have been notified much sooner. He says he’s directed the attorney general to investigate.
Stay with KRON4 News for updates
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