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Woman who escaped Hale Nani Correctional Facility in police custody

January 14, 2014 - 4:51pm

A 40-year-old Mountain View woman is in police custody following an escape Tuesday from Hale Nani Correctional Facility in Hilo.

At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mary Lolita Santos was arrested for second-degree escape, according to the Hawaii County Police Department. She is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to Hale Nani Correctional Facility, located off Highway 11 in Hilo, after receiving a report from correctional officers that at 9:40 a.m., a female inmate scaled a fence and fled on foot from the minimum security facility, according to police.

After running along the highway and into the Puna-bound traffic lanes, she stopped a blue van and jumped into the passenger side window, according to police. State correctional officers were able to prevent the van from leaving and were able to take Santos into custody. The van then left the area.

Hawaii County Police Department detectives are now looking 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, according to police.

Anyone who was traveling on Highway 11 and may have witnessed the incident or may know the identity of the driver is asked to contact Detective Norbert Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or email at

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300 in Hilo and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.