EXCLUSIVE: Manhunt for escapees ends with shift change because of resources

Manhunt for escapees ends with shift change because of resources

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About a dozen Sheriff's deputies flooded the Kalihi area after a prison break Monday.

But sources tell me that intense manhunt for 23-year old Daniel Skelton ended at 3 in the afternoon, when the Warrant Squad's shift ended.

The Warrant Squad is the only group that tracks fugitives for the Sheriff's Department and without new leads, they were not authorized to get overtime.

"I would have spent the money," says State Representative Bob McDermott, who is on the Public Safety Committee.  "I would keep them out there, because it gives the community comfort to see all the armed officers patrolling the neighborhood looking, trying to pick up a lead."

"It's a tough call," says State Representative Gregg Takayama, who is also on the Public Safety Committee, "We're asking public safety to minimize overtime."

Takayama also says the Sheriff has to balance the need to spend overtime with the risk to the public.

"Judging the potential danger of this escapee (with) judging the likelihood that we can catch him in a timely manner," says Takayama.

Skelton is a convicted thief.  He is not considered a 'high-risk' inmate.

Still, Representative McDermott says the Sheriff's Department should have allowed some deputies to stay just during the first 24 hours after the escape.

"As long as we have active leads, active tips, we're going to keep working it, keep people in the field," says Sheriff Robin Nagamine.

But by Monday afternoon, he says the active leads had dried up, "Rather than drive around aimlessly hoping that you run into him, it's better to call it off, regroup your people, let them get some rest.  If tips come up, we'll send them back out."

The Warrant Squad was already looking for another OCCC escapee.  Allan Abihai, a convicted sex offender who walked away from the work furlough program less than a week earlier.

The Sheriff says even though the Warrant Squad ends their shift at 3 o'clock, there are still patrol officers available to track down the escapees.  HPD and U.S. Marshals can also respond to tips.