Police and prison officials continued to investigate the escape of two female pre-trial detainees yesterday. The women apparently fled Oahu Community Correctional Center late Monday night by going through a fence along Puuhale Road.

Inmates made
a ruckus to help
2 others escape

Officials say 6 face discipline
for diverting attention while
the women fled OCCC

At least six inmates created a diversion that helped two other prisoners escape from the Oahu Community Correctional Center Monday night, prison officials said.

The diversion allowed Michelle Padilla and Kimberly Takata to walk through the unlocked front door of their module, said acting OCCC Warden Francis Sequeira. Once outside the building, Padilla and Takata squeezed through a hole in the perimeter fence that officials said was created by other accomplices outside the prison.

The search for Padilla, 27, and Takata, 33, continued this morning.

"We had a bunch of females in the dining area involved in simultaneous mock fights and pounding on doors," Sequeira said.

The noise was so loud witnesses reported hearing the commotion from outside the prison. Sequeira said as many as 45 women were involved, but many may have joined in without knowledge of the escape plan.

He said some of the women identified as accomplices admitted they started the ruckus as a diversion. And six inmates face disciplinary action for their alleged involvement, prison officials said.

The escape prompted Sequeira to order all doors to the living facilities locked, including the fire escapes.

A guard had been posted near the unlocked front door but Sequeira said the guard left the post to respond to the commotion.

The new security order also include roving guards to patrol the outside of the facility. The same measure was ordered after a male inmate escaped from the facility twice in 2001. The patrols were eventually halted because, "we're not staffed for that," Sequeira said.

Padilla and Takata escaped through a hole in the fence on the Puuhale Road side of the prison. Sequeira said the spot is somewhat visible from the guard tower at the Puuhale Road-Kamehameha Highway corner of the facility during the day and less visible at night.

"There are blind spots and there have always been," Sequeira said.

The tower was not manned at the time of the escape. Because of budget restraints, the tower is not manned 24 hours a day, said Frank Lopez, state Department of Public Safety Deputy Director.

"It's what we call a Black Post. It's manned only certain times of the day," Lopez said.

He said the women's module, which houses 100 prisoners in two open dormitories, was not designed for pretrial inmates but for those who have access to the community.

The prison has a single perimeter chain-link fence. Clips attaching the fence to a post were broken and the edge of the fence was pried open to create a hole big enough for Padilla and Takata to fit through, officials said.

Sequeira believes accomplices outside the prison opened the fence because he said the women could not have done that from inside.

Witnesses told police the inmates fled with a man and a woman who were waiting for them outside the fence in a black Chevrolet Camaro, license number FJZ-654.

As of last night, police had not located the Camaro and said the plates were taken from another car.

Padilla was at OCCC awaiting trial on drug possession and drug paraphernalia charges and the U.S. Marshals Service was waiting to take custody of her on similar federal offenses.

Takata was awaiting trial on burglary, fraudulent use of credit cards, forgery, theft and identity theft charges in two separate cases. She also was awaiting sentencing in three other cases in which she had pleaded guilty last week to similar, plus drug and drug paraphernalia possession.

She is scheduled to appear before state Circuit Judge Rey Graulty on Friday to be resentenced in a 2001 drug and drug paraphernalia possession case for which she had been granted probation.

The escape is the second this month from an Oahu prison. On April 4, Albert Batalona, 37, Warren Elicker, 25, and David Scribner, 20, escaped from Halawa Correctional Facility. They were captured separately six days later in Windward Oahu.


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