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Task force sheriff deputies capture OCCC escapee

By Leila Fujimori

LAST UPDATED: 10:05 p.m. HST, Jun 18, 2014

A Punchbowl-area homeowner discovered an orange-haired man with a painted black face in his laundry room Wednesday afternoon and yelled at the man to get out.

The yelling alerted deputy sheriffs and deputy U.S. marshals, already combing the area for Oahu Community Correctional Center escapee Daniel Skelton, 23, which led to his capture 59 hours after he made his break.

Lt. Koa Dobrowolsky, head of special operations in the Sheriff Division, said Skelton had "painted his face with black material -- looks like black makeup -- and darkened the color of his skin ... to blend into the shadows."

Skelton was apprehended at 4:05 p.m. in the vicinity of 1623 Leilehua Lane, a small cul-de-sac close to the Chevron gas station on South School Street, Dobrowolsky said.

"It went down real easy," he said.

Sheriffs booked Skelton on first-degree

escape charges, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz.

Skelton, a convicted thief, was caught Wednesday morning on a surveillance camera at the Pali Longs Drugs in Nuuanu wearing

a jacket, tank top and shorts and carrying an armful of items.

The 5-foot-10 man had cut his long, black hair and dyed it orange. He also changed clothes after "shopping" at Longs.

Residents in the Punchbowl area were puzzled by the sight of Skelton.

Kayla Keehu, 26, said she heard noises on the lanai of her second-story apartment on Leilehua Lane.

When she went out, she found a man wearing a woman's dress and exposed from the waist down, and thought he may have been homeless.

But with the black painted face, she thought he may have been a burglar.

"The orange hair kind of tipped me off that this was the guy," she said.

Keehu said he then asked to use the bathroom.

When she said no, he jumped over the railing and down into the neighbor's backyard, where he was caught.

"He seemed a little scared and uneasy," she said.

"I was only scared when I connected the dots and talked to police," she said.

She had seen online that the escapee had been at the Pali Longs, only a few blocks away.

"Oh my God, this guy's in the area," she thought to herself.

Keehu ran down to her landlord's apartment and called 911.

"The hair was the biggest giveaway," she said.

Tyson DeCambra, 27, who lives in a School Street house behind Keehu, said he found Skelton rummaging through the clothes in his laundryroom.

"He was just trying to find socks," he said. "That's what he said."

"I asked him how come his face was painted," DeCambra said. "He said, 'I been in some stuff.'"

Then he asked DeCambra, "Can you give me a minute?"

"I gave him his minute," he said, and Skelton left.

"I didn't know who he was," DeCambra said until he went inside and his girlfriend told him about the escapee.

DeCambra said he didn't call police, but heard other neighbors talking with police and told them what he saw.

Skelton was spotted earlier Wednesday morning running between homes in Nuuanu around the School Street area.

Roughly 60 deputy sheriffs and deputy marshals, all part of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, along with police, began searching the Nuuanu area at about 9 a.m., where Skelton had been seen, Dobrowolsky said. "We locked down the area and flushed the escapee out."

Public Safety issued an alert just before 10:30 a.m.

At 2:30 p.m., "we pulled everybody in, flooding the same area," referring to deputy sheriffs, marshals and agents from numerous federal agencies, Dobrowolsky said.

"We assumed the escapee would try and get mobile again," he said.

Upon hearing the yelling from the homeowner, a deputy marshal spotted Skelton, "gave a small pursuit, boxed him into an alley" and detained him, and deputy sheriffs arrested him, Dobrowolsky said.

He was found wearing jeans, a T-shirt and basketball shoes, likely stolen from a laundry room or a clothesline, Dobrowolsky said.

Skelton escaped shortly after 5 a.m. Monday through a hole in a medium-security bathroom, heading into a crawl space, onto

a roof and through a 16-foot fence.

He was arrested June 4 for parole violation and was being held at OCCC unable to post $20,000 bail.

Still at large is Alan Abihai, who failed to return June 10 from a work furlough.

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KonaWarrior wrote:
Geez, for a moment I thought I was looking at a reincarnation of Michael Jackson.
on June 18,2014 | 11:39AM
Beaglebagels wrote:
right on!
on June 18,2014 | 03:39PM
atom wrote:
lol, I was thinking the same thing....a very sun tanned Michael Jackson.
on June 18,2014 | 03:55PM
Nalukai wrote:
I thought Red Skelton was dead...hehe !
on June 18,2014 | 06:53PM
Pocho wrote:
MJ before the skin graft surgery. lol
on June 18,2014 | 07:33PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Trust me, he will be caught. Who can miss orange hair?
on June 18,2014 | 12:08PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Someone has to remind Daniel that dying your hair orange is not the best way to remain incognito.
on June 18,2014 | 12:14PM
Skyler wrote:
haha, for real.
on June 18,2014 | 12:26PM
South76 wrote:
It shows how dumb criminals can be...lol.
on June 18,2014 | 01:39PM
HOSSANA wrote:
hey, wadda you expect from a public school dropout.....!!!!
on June 19,2014 | 04:37PM
Skeeter wrote:
Authorities said Skelton was running between homes in the area, but did not realize any other details. realize ?
on June 18,2014 | 12:42PM
richierich wrote:
I think I saw him at Jollibee eating a big box of chicken with extra gravy.
on June 18,2014 | 01:22PM
inverse wrote:
Pretty bad that prison officials don't really know exactly how escaped. Also even if he was housed in a "less secure" location in OCCC, isn't the entire compound surrounded by a high fence with barbed wire AND guards in guard towers watching the fences 24 hours a day? Rhetorical question, pretty clear the guards were NOT actively looking for anyone trying to escape. Either sleeping, watching Hulu on their notepad, etc. This give a clear example why it is a bad idea to bring more Hawaii prisoners home and better to serve in a private prison in Arizona. With almost year round 100 degree heat, if a prisoner escapes an Arizona prison, where they gonna go except probably end up dead due to severe dehydration.
on June 18,2014 | 01:39PM
jusjoking wrote:
Follow the crumbs from the chips.
on June 18,2014 | 02:13PM
kprtyqn wrote:
Yep as what happens when those "highly paid" security guards take those sick days.....aint nothing going right now
on June 18,2014 | 02:44PM
wato wrote:
oh no! It's 3:00pm. The sheriffs and marshalls have to clock out. But don't worry, they start work again at 7:00am tomorrow.
on June 18,2014 | 03:09PM
Golden333 wrote:
Of course he needs chips what is he gonna do till 3pm
on June 18,2014 | 03:47PM
jusjoking wrote:
Stop and ask for water and salsa, oops.
on June 18,2014 | 05:14PM
hikine wrote:
The image from his capture and this one is totally different! Couldn't they pose a more recent picture so the public would recognize them better?
on June 18,2014 | 05:09PM
Skyler wrote:
Did you bother to read the article describing his attempt at disguise, or are you just 'reacting'?
on June 18,2014 | 09:53PM
cahelaj wrote:
with all the problems going on under ted sakai's watch, he should step down!! and with all the sick leave problems with the guards, the state should seriously consider privatization!!
on June 18,2014 | 05:17PM
hanabatadayz wrote:
just send them all to the mainland..problem solved
on June 18,2014 | 06:02PM
Skyler wrote:
Works for me.
on June 18,2014 | 07:06PM
itsok wrote:
Does anyone know why he looks bruised? Is that just the picture?
on June 18,2014 | 07:16PM
roxeee wrote:
tonight's news said he put shoe polish or some kind of black thing on his face to disguise himself
on June 18,2014 | 07:34PM
sloturle wrote:
why doesn't it explain why his face is all black?
on June 18,2014 | 08:27PM
mauiray wrote:
Hair color doesn't quite go with his skin tone. Perhaps try another color then may be he could blend a little better in public...
on June 18,2014 | 09:04PM
Anonymous wrote:
He obviously watched the movie "Commando" while he was loose.
on June 18,2014 | 09:12PM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
Such a dumb disguise...he attracted more attention to himself
on June 18,2014 | 09:15PM
Skyler wrote:
Ok I'll say it: He looks like he dressed for Halloween. What a costume!
on June 18,2014 | 09:50PM
Skyler wrote:
Haha ok...

Danged auto-correct!

on June 18,2014 | 09:52PM
opalaedo wrote:
All this use of manpower for a convicted thief? I could understand if he was armed and dangerous, been convicted of murder.
on June 18,2014 | 11:39PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
"The 5-foot-10 man had cut his long, black hair and dyed it orange". Um...yeah....this clown is FAR from being a man, and being called one is a slap in the face to real men everywhere.
on June 19,2014 | 01:25AM
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