'Dangerous Individual' Escapes to Chartered Plane

Hawaii killer wasn't reported missing for 8 hours
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2017 1:16 AM CST
'Dangerous Individual' Escapes to Chartered Plane
The Hawaii State Hospital is shown in Kaneohe, Hawaii, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.   (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

A dangerous Hawaii psychiatric patient who escaped a state hospital and flew to California before being captured Wednesday has prompted an investigation into why employees appeared to fail to do their jobs. Dr. Virginia Pressler, director of the Hawaii Department of Health, says an internal inquiry indicated that workers inadvertently or intentionally neglected to supervise Randall Saito and notify their supervisors, the AP reports. The apparent failures were spread through several shifts of workers, she says. Seven hospital staff members were placed on unpaid leave Wednesday for 30 days and more may be identified as the investigation continues, the department said in a statement.

Saito, described by prosecutors as a "very dangerous individual," was gone at least eight hours before hospital staff alerted authorities. On Sunday, Saito left the 202-bed Hawaii State Hospital outside Honolulu, where he has been committed for 36 years since being acquitted of murder by reason of insanity. He took a taxi to a chartered plane bound for the island of Maui and then boarded another plane to San Jose, Calif., authorities say. Attorney General Doug Chin says the escape was planned and an investigation will include an examination of whether Saito had any accomplices. Saito was captured in Stockton on Wednesday morning as the result of a tip from an alert taxi driver, police say.

(More Hawaii stories.)

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