No updates on who helped patient escape from state hospital

HONOLULU — There are no updates on who helped Randall Saito escape from the state hospital in November, a Hawaii official said.

The Star-Advertiser reported Sunday that James Walther, special assistant to Attorney General Russell Suzuki, had no updates on who helped Saito orchestrate a plan that included thousands of dollars and multiple fake IDs. Walther also did not provide a time frame for the release of the investigative report.


Six Hawaii State Hospital workers are still on “off-duty status” since the state Attorney General’s Office started an administrative investigation, state officials said. The employees were on unpaid leave for the first 30 days, but have since been paid as required under their union contract.

A seventh person who worked under a separate state contract is no longer at the hospital.

Saito was recently indicted on one count of second-degree escape and four counts of first-degree identity theft.

“The guy had the run of the place for years. Most of it he did on his own,” Saito’s attorney Michael Green said. “He used his own ingenuity to get his identification done. They have no clue who helped him.”

Saito fled the hospital’s grounds on the morning of Nov. 12 after he was supplied with more than $6,000 in cash, two bogus driver’s licenses and two cellphones, court documents said.

He changed his clothes, opened a four-digit combination lock on a gate leading to the Windward Community College campus, called a taxicab, obtained a backpack and arranged a charter flight to Maui and commercial flight to San Jose, California.

Saito was acquitted in 1981 of murder by reason of insanity in the slaying of Sandra Yamashiro. In July 1979, Saito fatally shot and stabbed Yamashiro, 29, in the parking lot at Ala Moana Center. He was diagnosed with sexual sadism and necrophilia and committed to the State Hospital.

Saito was captured in Stockton, California, three days after walking out of Hawaii State Hospital. Saito plotted his escape with a contraband cellphone, prosecutors have said in court documents.


The Department of Health said the hospital is sufficiently staffed with more than 600 employees and contractors. The state is scheduled to break ground this summer on a more secure facility. An interior fencing project was completed last month.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements . worked with the staff, conducted retraining to ensure that proper protocols are being followed,” department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said. “A number of security measures are still in place: restrictions on leaving the campus, restrictions on privileges and increased unannounced unit searches.”

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