Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Hunt is on for
prison escapees

Two women broke out of
OCCC last night, apparently
with plenty of help

Honolulu police and state deputy sheriffs launched an island-wide hunt last night for two women who escaped from the Oahu Community Correctional Center.

Kimberly Takata, 33, and Michelle Padilla, 27, escaped about 7:50 p.m. apparently with the help of accomplices, said Francis Sequeira, acting warden for the Kalihi prison.

"They couldn't have done it themselves," Sequeira said.

The women were seen fleeing in a black Chevrolet Camaro, license number FJZ 654, toward Ewa on Nimitz Highway. Sequeira said a man and another woman also were seen in the car.

Prison officials learned of the escape after police called them to pass along an anonymous tip that an escape was in progress, Sequeira said. A check of the prison confirmed that the two women were missing, he said.

Police said inmates staged a disturbance to distract prison staff as the two left through an unsecured door. Sequeira was not available to comment on the disturbance but he said earlier that the two women escaped through a 10-inch gap in the fence along Puuhale Road.

Sequeira said a guard was posted in the tower that overlooks the inmate module, which borders Kamehameha Highway and Puuhale Road. He said officials are investigating if the guard was able to see the escape.

Sequeira said the prison layout might have created blind spots, preventing the guard from having a clear view of the area.

Padilla was being held at the prison awaiting trial for a drug charge while Takata was awaiting trial for burglary, Sequeira said.

"With relatively minor charges, to escape, that indicates desperation," Sequeira said.

Takata is 5 feet 6 and 120 pounds. Padilla is 5 feet 8 and 186 pounds.

Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone contributed to this report


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