UPDATE: Police Capture Escapee Higa Tonight in Ocean View
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by Dave Smith
Big Island police tonight captured one of two inmates who escaped from a Hilo jail two days ago.
Jarvis Higa was captured in Ocean View by a joint task force at about 8:15 p.m. as he attempted to flee from a residence on foot, the department said in a statement issued less than an hour later.
Police said the 35-year-old Higa was arrested for multiple charges including escaping from the Hawaii County Correctional Center. He was to be transported to the Hilo Police Station for processing.
The joint task force was made up of officers from both Hilo and Kona with the assistance of state sheriffs and Ka`u police.
Escaped inmate Ryan Jeffries-Hamar is still at large.
Earlier today, Capt. Robert Wagner of Hilo Patrol said that there had been a confirmed sighting of Higa Thursday in the coastal area of Keaukaha in Hilo.
Higa and Jeffries-Hamar, 31, attacked a guard and escaped from HCCC Wednesday morning in a vehicle stolen from the facility’s librarian.
Wagner said there was also report of a sighting of Jeffries-Hamar today, but because it hadn’t been confirmed he declined to comment on where that supposedly occurred, saying he didn’t want to worry people in the community needlessly.
Meanwhile today, Department of Education officials confirmed that several Hilo public schools, including Hilo High, Hilo Union, Hilo Intermediate and Keaukaha Elementary, where placed on lockdown for part of the morning.
DOE spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said the students were kept in classrooms under heightened security because of a possible sighting of one of the fugitives. She declined to say where that sighting occurred, and Wagner said the report – which he said came from someone affiliated with a school – turned out to be incorrect.
Police also issued a statement Thursday night saying that reports circulating on social media that the escapees had robbed the Ainaola Mart on Ainaola Drive in Hilo was incorrect.
Facebook and other social media sites have been rife with rumors of sightings and other information about the pair.
Asked if such reports were a help or hindrance to the police department’s manhunt, Wagner said they are treated like any other tips.
“It’s like anything else, you have to filter the information to see if it’s correct or not,” he said.