Las Vegas

Woman Who Died During Psychiatric Observation Hold at SF General Identified

LaVerne Criner was found dead at San Francisco General at 6 a.m. on June 4

A medical examiner on Monday identified the 33-year-old woman who died in the four hours she was unmonitored during a psychiatric observation hold.

LaVerne Criner was found dead at San Francisco General at 6 a.m. on June 4. That’s a day after San Francisco police brought her to the hospital on a 72-hour hold.

Sources had told NBC Bay Area that Criner was being treated on a bed in a hallway but no one checked on her from about 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Criner, whose last known address was in Las Vegas, was last seen after she asked to go to the bathroom. She was ultimately found dead in her bed four hours later.

SFPD homicide investigators and the medical examiner’s office are investigating what led to her death. In a statement the hospital says the autopsy found no signs of foul play.

Criner’s death came a week after 75-year-old Ruby Lee Andersen was found dead in the stairwell of an engineering building at the hospital.

Two state agencies – public health and the community care licensing division -- continue investigating the events surrounding Anderson’s death. She was listed as missing after she failed to return to a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly back on May 19.

Andersen's body was discovered in an engineering building on May 30. Andersen is believed to have died of natural causes. Authorities have replaced the alarms in the stairwell of the engineering building, which were either turned off or were not working. Had they been working, they would have sounded and alerted the hospital security.

CORRECTION (June 12, 6:46 a.m.): A previous version of this story mistakenly reported the incorrect official who identified Criner.

Editor's Note: San Francisco hospital officials dispute Criner was left unattended for four hours, but decline to comment further or give any other details. SFPD says they never suspected any foul play in her death. Their protocol is to send homicide officers to investigate all in-custody deaths.

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