Man who spotted missing SFGH woman comes forward

Police have finally talked with the man who saw a missing woman lying in a stairwell at SF General Hospital.
November 19, 2013 8:28:28 PM PST
Police have finally talked with the man who saw a missing woman lying in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital. Lynne Spalding vanished from her hospital bed only to be found dead 17 days later in a stairwell. The man who spotted her there two weeks after she went missing reported it, but no one followed up.

It was Oct. 4, two weeks after Spalding vanished from her hospital bed, that a nurse heard a man knocking door of an emergency stairwell on the fifth floor of the building where her body was later found. He was trying to get out onto the hospital floor.

"She let him in and said, 'What are you doing here,'" hospital spokesperson Rachel Kagan said. "'Oh, wrong stairwell; thanks for letting me in,' and then he said, 'By the way, looks like there's someone further down on the stairwell asleep, someone down there.'"

The man then left quickly, never identifying himself.

The person he referred to, presumably Spalding, was lying on the stairs between the third and fourth floors. The nursing supervisor notified a sheriff's dispatcher who said they would check it out.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said two weeks ago that his deputies never checked that stairwell.

Spalding's body was found four days later in that same location.

Investigators began actively looking for the mystery man, hoping he could provide some important answers.

ABC7 News has learned that he is a visiting doctor from India who's now working at UCSF and San Francisco General. Police have questioned him.

"Here we are the 19th of November and now somebody comes forward, a doctor, and says, 'I was the one that saw her and did nothing more than say so to somebody who let him out of a locked door?' I can't fathom that thinking," Spalding family lawyer Haig Harris Jr. said.

San Francisco General issued a statement after ABC7 News first reported the story, confirming that the person is a researcher working at the hospital. ABC7 News sources say he apparently saw this flyer sent out by UCSF police about three weeks ago and realized he must be the one investigators were looking for. That's when he came forward.


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