Daniel Skelton’s capture on Wednesday was just as dramatic as his escape two days ago.
The inmate from Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) ran through homes and changed his appearance to elude authorities.
But it didn’t work. The 23-year-old was eventually captured at 4:05 p.m. near the Nuuanu Chevron gas station on School St. after a chaotic manhunt led by the Sheriff’s Special Operations team with assistance by U.S Marshals and Honolulu police.
The search for Skelton brought authorities to Nuuanu Wednesday morning after someone spotted him at Safeway. He was seen leaving on a bicycle.
State sheriffs, Honolulu police, and U.S. Marshals then went door-to-door on Leilehua Lane near School Street.
One woman says a man fitting Skelton’s description came knocking on her door.
“He said, ‘Can I have water? Can I have water?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I give you water, but do not come inside’ because it was closed,” said Nuuanu resident Filipina Sullo.
When she came back outside, she noticed he was acting strange.
“When I saw him, he came from there and he was already peeping and looking at the police car that was leaving. And I told him, ‘Oh, the police is after you?’ And he said, ‘Yes. I’m so scared.’ That’s what he said,” Sullo said.
Sullo says he left on a bicycle.
The search also impacted students and staff the Hongwanji Mission School. The school went into lockdown at about 8:30 a.m. School officials immediately notified parents and secured all of the campus gates.
“We took a proactive stance and just voluntarily lock down our campus because student safety is always number one for us. We let our parents know we’re locking down voluntarily and have kept them informed via email and social media all day,” said David Randall, Head of School at Hongwanji Mission School.
The lockdown was lifted at about 10 a.m. and parents were able to pick up their students that afternoon.
Despite hours of searching, authorities captured him near their original starting point.
“A member of the marshals heard something over the radio that there was a man with a painted black face running in this area, so it piqued our curiosity,” said Koa Dobrowolsky with the U.S. Marshals Task Force. “So our sheriff’s deputies and marshal’s deputies started pushing up into the area, which was exactly where we were this morning.”
Skelton had changed his appearance and sported short, orange-blonde hair. He was wearing a jacket, tank top and shorts and had scrapes down both of his arms.
Kayla Keehu told KHON2 she saw Skelton standing on a table in her balcony and confronted him.
“I said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he turns away from me so I can’t see his face,” she said. “He said, ‘Can I use your bathroom?’ and he turned toward me and I can see his face is painted black and he had dyed orange hair. And I said, ‘No, you have to leave,’ so he jumped off the balcony, jumps down into that storage unit below, down to the ground and runs to my neighbor’s house.”
Skelton ran to Keehu’s neighbor’s laundry room and, the neighbor told KHON2, he asked for a pair of socks. The neighbor said no and called for help.
“(Our deputies) heard a homeowner yelling ‘Get out of my house! Get out of my house! What are you doing here?'” Dobrowolsky said. “Our guys started moving in that direction, they saw movement of the guy jumping the fence and starting to run. They gave pursuit. A marshal’s deputy put his hands on him, detained him, and sheriffs came in and made the arrest.”
Authorities cuffed Skelton on a narrow strip of ground between the fence of a home and a stone wall that protects an electrical transformer.
Dobrowolsky said Skelton was arrested without incident and described him as being very quiet during the booking process. KHON2 was the only news media at the scene as state sheriffs led him into custody to be processed and charged for first-degree escape. He was returned to OCCC Wednesday night.
Skelton was discovered missing during the 6 a.m. headcount Monday, according to public safety officials.
Related Story: Details murky on Daniel Skelton’s escape from OCCC
Officials said he got out by climbing through a hole in the bathroom ceiling and making his way through a crawl space and out of the building.
He then, somehow, got through the perimeter fence.
Skelton was in prison on a probation violation. Past convictions include burglary and theft.
Sheriffs continue to pursue leads and search for Alan Abihai, the work furlough inmate who didn’t return to OCCC last week.
If you have any information on Abihai, call 911 or Sheriff Dispatch at 586-1352.