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Officials: "Violent psychopath" escaped Hawaii psychiatric hospital, boarded flight

Psychiatric patient on the run
Psychiatric patient on the run 02:55

HONOLULU -- Hawaii authorities were searching Tuesday for a man who has been called a "violent psychopath" who escaped from the state's psychiatric hospital outside Honolulu and flew to Maui. From there, he boarded a flight to California, sources told CBS affiliate KGMB.

Randall Saito, who was found not guilty of a 1979 murder by reason of insanity, walked away from the State Hospital in Kaneohe on Sunday morning, got into a waiting cab and boarded a charter plane to Maui, sources tell the station. Then, multiple sources tell the station, Saito boarded another flight to San Jose, Calif.

"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.

Russell Saito CrimeStoppers/KGMB

It's not known whether Saito is still in California, according to KGMB, though he reportedly has family there. Federal agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals, have joined in a massive manhunt in an effort to locate him.

Tashima warned people not to approach Saito, saying there's a concern he could commit the same "very heinous and violent offense" again.

"Because he committed a murder, no matter how long ago it was, he still has ability or inherent ability to do another murder or violent crime," Tashima told the station.

 Authorities asked anyone with information on Saito to call police.

Also on Friday, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced his office charged Saito with felony escape. A $500,000 bench warrant was issued for Saito's arrest, Chin said. Authorities in all 50 U.S. states can enforce Hawaii arrest warrants, he added.

Saito was committed to the hospital in 1981 after being acquitted by reason of insanity of the murder of Sandra Yamashiro. She had been shot and repeatedly stabbed before her body was found in her car at a Honolulu shopping mall. Authorities said she was targeted at random.

Defense attorneys sought to have Saito released in 2000. But Jeff Albert, a deputy city prosecutor, objected, saying Saito "fills all the criteria of a classic serial killer."

In 1993, a court denied Saito's request for conditional release, saying he continued to suffer from sexual sadism and necrophilia.

The state Department of Health operates the hospital, which houses over 300 patients in Kaneohe. The department said it's investigating the escape.

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