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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Judge Extends Seal on 'Angel of Death' Documents

September 23, 2000

BURBANK — Documents filed by the city of Glendale detailing the "Angel of Death" murder investigation were ordered to be sealed for at least another month, preventing their release to attorneys and news media.

Citing a need to protect the ongoing investigation, Burbank Superior Court Judge Carl J. West said he will review the materials and decide whether any can be made public without compromising a police inquiry that has taken more than two years.

Glendale detectives and city officials have steadfastly refused to discuss details of the case of Efren Saldivar, a former respiratory therapist at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. In March 1998, Glendale police said Saldivar confessed to 40 to 50 mercy killings at the hospital, calling himself the "Angel of Death."

Saldivar, 30, was arrested but has not been charged in the case. He later recanted, saying he was depressed at the time and had made up everything.

Several families have sued Saldivar for wrongful death, including the family of 91-year-old John N. Schwartz, who died in 1993 after hip replacement surgery. Saldivar's attorney, Terry M. Goldberg, is seeking autopsy and toxicology reports and a deposition from Glendale Det. William Currie.

West ordered that a log of each document be prepared and submitted under seal before a scheduled Oct. 20 hearing on the matter.

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