When Randall Saito was reported missing from Hawaii State Hospital in Honolulu on November 12, news of his escape made national news. Having been acquitted by reason of insanity for a brutal 1979 murder, the 59-year-old Saito was declared by police to be "very dangerous" as they searched for the escapee. Wayne Tashima, the Honolulu prosecutor who opposed Saito's attempts to leave hospital grounds unescorted publicly warned people not to approach him due to fears he would kill again.
But Saito had already left Hawaii by that time. Though police are still investigating whether he had help, they determined that he had hailed a cab, boarded a chartered plane bound for Maui, and they took a commercial flight to San Jose, California. By the time hospital staff noticed his absence, he was already in California. After several days, police received a tip from a taxi driver and arrested Saito who was apparently on his way to Stockton, California where his brother lived. While he remains in a Stockton jail, he Hawaii Attorney General’s office has since charged him with felony escape and issued a bench warrant for his return to Hawaii.
As for Saito, he refuses to say whether he got any help escaping the hospital, where he obtained the fake ID he used at the airport, and how he got the money to take him to California. He does insist that his escape was meant to prove a point, however. “I was surprised that it actually worked,” he said in an interview with Associated Press. “I was expecting almost every leg of the way, I was expecting them to be right around the corner just going to nab me.... “I had no delusions of settling down. That’s grandiose. I was just trying to get as much time as possible under my belt to prove my point that I could be in the community without supervision and not be truculent or violent or stupid. I just wanted a track record to throw back into the hospital and say, ‘Look, nobody was there to supervise me. I was out. I didn’t drink. I didn’t drug. I didn’t hurt anybody,
While he reported knowing that his money would run out at some point, he felt that the longer he stayed out, the more he could prove himself. “I wanted to extend my time out there as much as possible, maximize my record, my track record, that would be in and of itself irrefutable proof that I was out there doing it,” he said. He also insists that he had never been mentally ill but faked illness to avoid being sent to prison. Ironically, his hospitalization likely worked against his plan of eventually reentering society as hospital staff consistently opposed his release. As a result, he felt he had nothing to lose by escaping since the hospital would never give him a chance to live on his own anyway.
"Whether this worked out or not, or whether it made things worse, what does it matter", he asked. “I was riding that cab. The wind was blowing in my face. I was looking at all the lights in San Jose, and I actually felt human. And I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I’m a human being,'”