Missing woman found dead at SF General Hospital

San Francisco police are investigating a woman's body that was found in a stairwell at SF General Hospital.
October 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A woman who disappeared from her hospital room more than two weeks ago was missing without a trace until Tuesday when her body was discovered on a fourth-floor stairway. She didn't get very far, but why it took so long to find her is now the key question.

A reliable source tells ABC7 News the body is that of 57-year-old Lynne Spalding. Spalding, had been missing from a hospital for 17 days and was the subject of an intense search by friends and family. On Tuesday, her body turned up in a stairwell -- at the hospital.

So far, San Francisco General Hospital has been sparse with details. "I think there's a lot of questions, if that's the case, that San Francisco General will have to answer not only for the family and friends Lynne Spalding, but for the people who come here expecting safety," said David Perry, a friend of the family.

Spalding entered the hospital on September 19 for treatment of an infection. On Saturday morning, September 21, sometime between 10:15 and 10:30, she disappeared. For seventeen days, the family has been in limbo.

"We have been dismayed, disappointed, and frustrated not only by the lack of information coming out of San Francisco General, the lack of a sense of urgency," Perry said.

Sheriff's deputies cordoned off the stairwell Tuesday as a crime scene. The hospital produced no explanation about how it could lose a patient and also apparently miss a body -- all on the same premises.

"It's very concerning that this body was found. We're distressed. We don't know what happened. That's our top priority, to find that out," hospital spokesperson Rachel Kagan said.

San Francisco General issued a statement Tuesday saying, "Today at 10 a.m. a woman's body was found in an exterior stairwell on the hospital campus. The person is deceased and San Francisco Sheriff's Department is leading the investigation, with assistance of the San Francisco Police Department."

"We do not know the identity of this person and have no further information at this time. We are cooperating with the investigation and will provide another update as information develops."

A news conference will take place at 11 a.m. at San Francisco General Hospital on Wednesday.


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