2 of 3 inmates captured following escape from Waiawa Correctional Facility

UPDATE 04/20/17: Only KHON2 was there when two of three inmates who escaped from Waiawa Correctional Facility were arrested by Honolulu police.

It happened Thursday, April 20, at around 1 p.m. in Waimanalo.

Police were alerted to the whereabouts of Kekoa Aspera and Kamaka Villegas after a woman was attacked in Windward Oahu.

The location of the third escapee, Brian Aquino, is unknown at this time. The 31-year-old is 5’9”, weighs 280 lbs. and has brown hair and eyes. He currently has a shaved head. If you see him, call 911, or the State Sheriffs at 586-1352.

Click here to view KHON2’s full coverage of the capture of Aspera and Villegas.

Three inmates from Waiawa Correctional Facility were discovered missing during a headcount around 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

Sheriffs and Honolulu Police are searching for the following:

  • Kamaka Villegas, 34 years old, 5’7”, 175 lbs., with brown hair and eyes.  Villegas has tattoos near his right eye and around his neck.  Villegas is serving time for Promoting a Dangerous Drug 3, Prohibited Acts Related to Drug Paraphernalia, Ownership/Possession of a Prohibited Firearm, Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle, Robbery 2, Forgery 2, and Promoting Prison Contraband 2.  His parole hearing isn’t scheduled until April 2019.
  • Kekoa Aspera, 25 years old, 5’7”, 150 lbs., with brown hair and eyes. He is serving time for Burglary 1 and Theft 1. His parole hearing was scheduled for September 2017.
  • Brian Aquino, 31 years old, 5’9”, 280 lbs., with brown hair and eyes. He currently has a shaved head and is serving time for Burglary 1. His next parole hearing was scheduled for October 2017.

Waiawa Correctional is a minimum-security prison for male inmates with dorm-style housing. It is located in Waipio and sits on 192 acres surrounded by trees and dense shrubbery.

The facility helps transition the inmates back into the community from prison.

Sources say a piece of prison clothing was found on top of a barbed wire fence.

How the three inmates managed to escape is under investigation.

A request for a Wednesday interview with Director of Public Safety Nolan Espinda was declined.

Through email correspondence, a spokesperson for the department said, “We are still compiling reports and are in the beginning stages of investigating the incident, including how they escaped. It would be premature to discuss it at this time. When we hear of their captures we will be sure to notify everyone.”

DPS instead provided answers to our questions surrounding security protocols.

There are on-duty guards around the clock, split into three shifts.

  • 1st watch is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • 2nd watch is from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • 3rd watch is from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Spokesperson Toni Schwartz said, “The staffing level for each watch is consistent with the classification of the inmates in the facility.”

The department said sheriffs and Honolulu police were immediately notified Tuesday night about the 3 escapees.

A thorough search of the 192 acres was finished Wednesday morning, and that’s when the public was notified through a Nixle alert and through the media.

When we finally spoke with Espinda Friday, the public safety director admitted the department did not notify the public in a timely manner and “we intend to do a better job.”

“There’s a lot about our process that has to be reviewed and is being reviewed, and in broad strokes, notifying the public sooner rather than later is the best policy,” he said. “We’re going to take every opportunity to make sure that’s the case in the future.”

For Senator Will Espero and Representative Ryan Yamane, the timing of the public’s notification is unacceptable.

“The public should have been notified within an hour or two of the escape. We’re assuming they’re doing everything in their power, but it is so important to provide information as soon as possible to the public,” said Espero, (D) Ewa, Ewa Beach.

“(The Department) needs to be more transparent and much more sooner than they were in this situation. This easily could have gotten on the 10 o’clock news and people could have been aware and keeping their eyes open if they see 3 guys in the Mililani area,” Espero added.

“We request these department heads be much more transparent and forthcoming. These issues do impact the safety of community. When you have these individuals roaming the neighborhoods where kids could be playing? Families want to be told,” said Representative Ryan Yamane, who represents Mililani, Waipio Gentry, and Waikele.

“We will bring it up to the administration to try and get answers on why this case may be and how will they change their processes,” he continued.

Senator Michelle Kidani sent KHON2 the following letter regarding the escapees:

“Like others in the surrounding communities of Mililani, Waipio Gentry and Waikele, I find it very disturbing and disappointing to know that 3 prisoners escaped last night around 9 pm and there was no attempt by Waiawa prison to notify the public until after 7:30 a.m. this morning.

With social media and electronic technology, it would be easy enough to at least give notification to help assure our communities are aware and can take necessary precautions.

In light of the recent reports that OCCC is looking at sites to relocate prisoners as well as build another prison site at Waiawa and Mililani Tech Park, it is not reassuring to our communities that such an escape can go unannounced for that many hours.

I am not sure what the policies are in the Department of Public Safety to issue notices when prisoners escape, but as their name states, they are the Dept of Public Safety and public safety should be first and foremost part of their policy when it comes to escapes.

If immediate notification is not part of their policy, then DPS should review this matter as soon as possible. If an inmate is missing at a headcount, it seems to me it’s better to issue a public alert right away – even if that inmate is found later within the facility and it turns out to be a false alarm.”

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