California authorities said Wednesday they had captured a 59-year-old psychiatric hospital patient from Hawaii who reportedly escaped from custody earlier this week and flew to the mainland United States.
Randall Saito – who was once described as fitting “all the criteria of a classic serial killer” — was taken into custody about 10:30 a.m. by deputies with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday morning, the office said.
“The arrest was made as the result of a tip received from an alert taxi cab driver,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Saito was arrested in the area of Highway 99 and Waterloo Road” in in Stockton, California.
Saito’s status in custody en route back to Hawaii was not immediately clear. It was also unclear whether he has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
He landed in Sunday night in San Jose, California, about 80 miles from Stockton, after leaving the Hawaii State Hospital earlier that day, according to the Associated Press, and TV stations Hawaii News Now and KGO.
Police in Honolulu, Hawaii, reportedly said Saito flew from Maui after he left the hospital outside Kaneohe, Hawaii, around 10 a.m. Sunday.
It remains unclear how he was able to leave the facility, though police believe he took a taxi from the facility to Honolulu, where he chartered a plane to Maui and then flew again to California.
Saito was reportedly found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1979 murder of Sandra Yamashiro in a Honolulu shopping mall, and he was committed to the hospital in 1981.
Yamshiro had been stabbed and shot in the face and her body was found in her car.
Police said Saito arrived in San Jose two hours before hospital staff reported his disappearance, according to the AP.
“Saito is considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached,” police said in a statement Tuesday, before his capture.
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Saito has sought repeatedly to be released from the hospital, according to the AP. A court denied his request for conditional release in 1993, finding that he continued to exhibit evidence of sexual sadism and necrophilia.
Defense attorneys again moved for his release in 2000, but prosecutors argued he “fills all the criteria of a classic serial killer.”
“He is a psychopathic predator whose mental condition continues to represent a serious danger to the community,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Albert reportedly said in 2002.
Hawaii State Hospital Administrator William May told the AP that the hospital staff would be conducting an internal review as to how Saito escaped and if he had help from someone inside the facility.
The state’s Department of Health, which operates the hospital, also said it was investigating. Hawaii authorities could not immediately be reached for comment by PEOPLE on Wednesday.
“He’s a smart guy, he’s not impulsive,” one Hawaii State Hospital employee told Hawaii News Now of Saito. “It’s not an impulsive act. He had some planning. He had someone on the outside.”