STOCKTON, California — A cross-country manhunt for a deranged killer who escaped from a Hawaii mental hospital ended in California when an eagle-eyed cab driver picked the man up and then alerted police.
Randall Toshio Saito, 59, had somehow managed to board at least two planes after walking out of the Hawaii State Hospital Tuesday morning, landing in California where he was picked up Wednesday morning in Stockton, the San Joaquin County Sheriff said.
Saito had been called a “classic serial killer” by authorities warned that he should be considered dangerous.
Saito was acquitted by reason of mental insanity in the random murder of a Sandra Yamashiro, whom he shot and stabbed repeatedly at a Honolulu shopping mall in 1979.
He was diagnosed with sexual sadism and necrophilia and had been in the state mental hospital since 1981.
Authorities in Hawaii have placed seven hospital workers on leave as an investigation into how Saito escaped gets underway, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.
Police say Saito managed to get on a charter flight from Oahu to Maui, paying cash, and then boarded a commercial flight to San Jose using a fake ID. It is believed that Saito meticulously planned his escape and that it wasn’t that he just saw an opportunity.
Detectives say Saito has a brother who lives in the Stockton area.