Hawaii State Hospital escapee calls 911 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii State Hospital escapee calls 911

Senator Jill Tokuda Senator Jill Tokuda
Senator Will Espero Senator Will Espero
John Flanigan John Flanigan

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police on Monday evening, caught a Hawaii State Hospital escapee with a violent record.

Police say Alexander Aehegma called 911 around 6:30 p.m. and turned himself in.

On Sunday night, police say he escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, and simply walked out after asking to go the restroom.

Aehegma has been accused of kidnapping, terroristic threatening, and sex assault.

He was admitted to the State Hospital last Fall for using a knife to rob a man at a Waikiki gas station.

Aehegma is the second escapee in just three months.

The first one is still on the run, and that has lawmakers taking another look at security at the State Hospital.

The State Hospital already has private security officers, but Hawaii Senator Jill Tokuda wants the State Department of Public Safety (DPS) to step in.

"The way we view it is, had these individuals not been found to have some defect or disability by our courts, they would be the complete responsibility of the Department of Public Safety," said Tokuda.

Tokuda says the Kaneohe facility averages six escapes a year plus numerous assaults against staff.

Last December, David True Seal got away.

Seal was hospitalized after being acquitted by reason of insanity for sex assault and kidnapping.

Police still have not found him.

DPS used to have unarmed security officers. They never went inside the hospital. DPS says they only guarded the entrance of the facility. They were pulled off in December due to budget cuts.

Tokuda's bill would require DPS to continue providing security.

"I think there's been a misunderstanding. The people who they had then, did not have the power of arrest," said John Flanigan, a member of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board.

Flanigan says he wants Deputy Sheriffs at the hospital.

But during a recent hearing, DPS Director Clayton Frank testified saying, "...it is a poor use of our very limited law enforcement resources that are in more demand from our Judiciary and other State Departments."

One suggestion is to use Deputy Sheriffs from areas that don't need as much security.

"I would be more than happy to give them some of our staff or some of the funding here at the capital and put it towards the State Hospital," said Senator Will Espero, Chair of the House Committee on Public Safety.

Even if lawmakers found more funding, DPS says it would still fight the bill, saying hospital security is the Department of Health's (DOH) responsibility.

DOH is currently installing fencing around the State Hospital that's difficult to climb.

A spokesperson says all staff members are trained in security measures, and that DOH will continue to take its responsibility seriously, with or without DPS's help.

If the bill passes, it will take effect in September.

It must clear the House Finance Committee before the full House votes on it. If the bill passes the House, it will go to Conference Committee.

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