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Hawaii County police investigating escape attempt in Hilo


Hawaii island police are investigating an escape from a Hilo correctional center Tuesday morning. The inmate was captured, but a man who may have helped her is still at large.

At about 10:45 a.m., police responded to the Hale Nani Correctional Facility in Hilo after receiving a report that a female inmate had scaled a fence at the minimum security facility. According to police reports, after running along nearby Route 11 and into its Puna-bound traffic lanes, the inmate stopped a blue van and jumped into the passenger side window. 

State correctional officers were able to prevent the van from leaving the area, and took the inmate, Mary Lolita Santos, 40, into custody. The van then left the area. 

At 1:30 p.m., Santos, of Mountain View, was arrested for second-degree escape. She is being held at the police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation. 

Detectives want to interview the van’s driver, who was described as an older Filipino man. He was operating a blue Honda Odyssey van that may have been a taxi, as it was described as having the letters "PUC" on its exterior. 

Police ask anyone who witnessed this incident or may know the identity of the driver to call Detective Norbert Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or email

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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