STOCKTON (CBS13) — The manhunt is over after a psychiatric patient who escaped a state hospital in Hawaii was arrested in Stockton on Wednesday.
The FBI and U.S. Marshals have been on the hunt for Randall Saito, 59, since Sunday. He was committed in 1981, two years after being acquitted of a heinous murder by way of insanity.
After spending Wednesday morning talking about Saito, Bella Kent came face-to-face with the suspect at Ernie’s General Store.
“As soon as I saw him, I knew there was no doubt in mind that I saw who I saw. So, I ran in, grabbed our coffee and I came back around, and I just wanted to make sure that I was right and indeed I was,” she said.
Randall Saito has been on the run since Sunday when investigators say he escaped from a psychiatric hospital outside Honolulu. Saito ended up on a plane and ended up in California.
“All of us being mothers, were pretty apprehensive. I mean, nobody wants to have somebody like that walking around our town, she said.
Investigators say Saito has family in Stockton and he was last seen in the area on Monday.
“From Hawaii, how he made it on a plane to get over here and where he got his money is a real question I think,” said Ernest Giannecchini, owner of Ernie General Store.
The owner of Ernie’s General Store was a few feet away when a taxi carrying Saito in the backseat pulled in to get gas.
“He came in and asked for $30 worth of gas, and he says, I’ll probably take it all and then calmly walked back out. As soon as he walked back to the pumps, a couple of undercover cops approached that car and immediately, several sheriff cars surrounded the whole area,” he said.
Saito was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1979 murder of 29-year-old Sandra Yamashiro. Prosecutors say he picked her at random, shot her in the face with a pellet gun, then stabbed her to death.
Residents living near the area where the Saito was allegedly staying are relieved that no one was hurt.
“The cab driver is lucky to be safe today. He had a monster in his backseat,” said Kent.
Owners of the general store here say the cab driver was very shaken up after the arrest was made and was planning to drive the suspect to Reno.