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Spanos Suffers Severe Depression, Husband Says

Government: Council member, who had been reported missing, is hospitalized. Whether she will finish term is unclear.

January 16, 1997|EFRAIN HERNANDEZ JR. | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BURBANK — City Council member Susan Spanos, missing from an Anaheim medical facility for nearly two days, is suffering from severe depression, her husband said Wednesday.

"Under doctors' orders, Susan has been hospitalized for extreme stress, severe depression and related complications," read the statement issued by Ted Spanos, who reported his wife missing Sunday night. "Her physicians expect her to be under treatment and in recuperation for approximately four weeks."

Police said Spanos, 33, was considered a missing person from about 10 p.m. Sunday until she contacted her family Tuesday afternoon. It was the second time this month that her husband had reported her missing.

Burbank City Manager Robert R. Ovrom and Councilman Ted McConkey said Ted Spanos stopped by City Hall early Wednesday and dropped off his statement.

"He seems fine," Ovrom said. "She's getting care, so that's good."

McConkey said the Spanos family, which includes the couple's two young children, seemed to be coping with Susan Spanos' condition and her treatment as well as possible.

Ted Spanos, in a four-paragraph statement, described the past year as "an extraordinarily difficult period" for his family. He did not elaborate.

"We sincerely appreciate the support so many of you have shown and for your continuing concern," he said. "Susan looks forward to thanking you personally and fully communicating with you when she has made progress in her recovery.

"We ask that you respect our privacy while she is in the hospital," he said. "I will try to keep everyone informed as to her progress."

Burbank police, who took over the investigation from Anaheim police while Spanos was considered missing, said Wednesday that the case was closed.

"It was a missing person. She's turned up," said Lt. Don Brown. "We have no more involvement with this."

Burbank Mayor Bill Wiggins and other city officials said they were happy that Spanos was receiving treatment.

"Obviously, Susan is very sick," Wiggins said. "She needs to get whatever medical attention she needs to get over her illness. I wish her the best."

City officials said that whether Spanos returns to the council to finish her term, which runs through April, remains to be seen. Spanos, who took office in May 1993, decided not to run for reelection, saying in a December interview that she needed to recover privately from an alleged sexual assault that occurred in January 1996.

Last year, Spanos accused local newspaper columnist Will Rogers of sexual assault. Rogers has repeatedly denied the allegations, and in May the district attorney's office declined to prosecute. Spanos then filed a lawsuit against Rogers, whose columns appear in the Glendale News Press, Burbank Leader and Foothill Leader, which are owned by Times Mirror Corp., which also operates the Los Angeles Times.

Also in May, Spanos, then vice mayor, was passed over by other council members, who broke from tradition by declining to name her the next mayor. Instead, Wiggins became mayor and Bob Kramer vice mayor.

This month, Ted Spanos called Burbank police in the early morning hours to report his wife missing. She turned up at her mother's house about noon that day.

McConkey said Wednesday that Ted Spanos indicated that his wife was already doing better at the hospital.

"As a friend, I hope she does fine and the treatment is successful," McConkey said. "At this point she's got a medical problem and you treat it."

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