A University of California at San Francisco researcher has come forward as the witness who reported seeing someone lying in a San Francisco General Hospital stairwell, the latest update in the case of a woman found dead weeks after being reported missing at the hospital.
Various investigations are under way into the death of 57-year-old Lynne Spalding, who was reported missing from San Francisco General Hospital on Sept. 21 and found dead in a hospital stairwell on Oct. 8.
Someone reported seeing a person lying on a stairwell on Oct. 4, but there is no indication that San Francisco sheriff’s deputies in charge of security at the hospital dispatched anyone to check the stairwell.
Since Spalding’s death, fliers were posted at the hospital seeking the identity of the person who reported the stairwell incident four days before her body was eventually found by authorities.
The UCSF researcher, a man who works at the hospital, came forward and has since been interviewed by police investigating her death, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.
Kagan said she does not know what information the researcher provided to investigators.
“We are very pleased to report this progress in the case,” she said. “It will get us closer to learning all the facts about what happened to Lynne Spalding, so that we can take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that it will never happen again.”
The lack of response to the Oct. 4 report of someone in the stairwell was cited by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi among the problems with the search for Spalding, who had been admitted to the hospital two days before her disappearance to be treated for an infection.
Among other findings from investigators was that authorities initially thought Spalding was black or Asian—she is white—and that technical problems prevented the retrieval of surveillance video from around the time of her disappearance, Mirkarimi said.
Mirkarimi has since made staffing changes at San Francisco General, reassigning a dispatcher, two senior deputies and a sergeant away from the hospital. A captain, two lieutenants, two sergeants and two senior deputies were brought in as additional security at the site.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News