Lost Witness Surfaces in San Francisco Hospital Death Probe

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    Lynne Spalding

    Authorities have interviewed the person who they believe is the witness who reported seeing someone in a San Francisco General Hospital days before a woman's dead body was discovered there.

    Hospital spokeswoman Rachel Kagan said Tuesday that the San Francisco police interviewed the person last week and that he is a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

    Sheriff Sorry for Response in Search for Lynne Spalding

    [BAY] Sheriff Sorry for Response in Search for Lynne Spalding
    San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is apologizing for his department's slow and incomplete search for a missing San Francisco woman whose body was found in a stairwell by a hospital engineer on Oct. 8. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013)

    "The information that we have here from the police is that they believe they have found the person who saw someone in the stairwell,'' Kagan said in a phone interview.

    MORE: Body Found in Stairwell of SF Hospital Is Missing Patient

    SF General Hospital Looking for Witness Who May Have Seen Body

    [BAY] SF General Hospital Looking for Witness Who May Have Seen Body
    San Francisco police are asking for the public s help in locating a man who reported a woman in a stairwell at SF General just days before missing patient Lynne Spalding was found there. Christie Smith reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013)

    The man came forward after seeing a flier circulated by the UC Police seeking witnesses.

    "We do not know the content of his interview with the police or what information he was able to provide, if any,'' the hospital said in a statement Tuesday.

    Earlier reports indicated the witness told a staff member on Oct. 4 that he saw someone lying in a locked stairwell. The staff member then called the Sheriff's Department, which provides security for the hospital. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has said his department failed to follow up on the report.

    Several Sheriff's Department's employees involved in the case have since been reassigned to other duties.

    Kagan, however, has said the witness might not have actually spotted Spalding in the stairwell because homeless people have previously taken shelter there.

    The body of 57-year-old Lynne Spalding was discovered Oct. 8, four days after the witness's report and 17 days after she first went missing Sept. 21.

    San Francisco police and the sheriff's office are investigating the case.

    A cause of death has not been released, but investigators have ruled out foul play.

    VIDEO: Sheriff Sorry for Response in Search for Lynne Spalding

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