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Officials to discuss body found in San Francisco hospital stairwell

October 09, 2013|By Maura Dolan

San Francisco authorities have scheduled a news conference Wednesday to discuss the discovery of a woman's body in the stairwell of a local hospital.

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and San Francisco General Hospital are slated to reveal more information about how the body of the woman -- a former patient -- may have ended up in the stairwell.

Her loved ones fear it's the body of 57-year-old Lynne Spalding. Spalding, a longtime San Francisco resident, disappeared from the hospital Sept. 21 after being admitted two days earlier after an emergency room visit.

David Perry, a friend of Spalding's who has served as a family spokesman, said he spent much of Tuesday at the hospital and had been in touch with Spalding’s 23-year-old daughter.

“She is distraught,” Perry said. “I would be lying if I said it doesn’t look good.”

Perry said he was told that Spalding had been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection or bladder infection and had been disoriented, possibly from medication, before she disappeared. He said she had gone to the hospital at her daughter’s urging because she had lost considerable weight and felt ill.

Family and friends distributed hundreds of fliers after she vanished and launched a Facebook page to help find her. San Francisco police were handling her case as a missing person’s investigation.

“To find out her body was here after all our searching would be very disturbing -- and not just to Lynne’s family,” Perry said. “It should be disturbing to anyone.”

Spalding was discovered missing from her room about 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 21. Her cellphone was left on a chair. When friends came to visit her at 11, hospital staff informed them that she was she was missing, Perry said. At the time, there was a severe rainstorm.

Perry said the hospital had promised to search the premises, and he was baffled that she had not been found. He described the stairwell where the body was found as enclosed with wire mesh and open to the elements.

He said he assumed that Spalding was wearing a hospital identification bracelet, but that had not been confirmed.

Perry said Spalding had a career in the hospitality industry and was between jobs when she became ill. He described her as fun-loving and vivacious. “She was a live wire,” he said.

“Someone’s family is going to be grieving tonight because a body was found in a hospital, and nobody knows how it got there,” Perry said. “It is very disturbing.”

Another friend said Spalding had lived in San Francisco for about 30 years but spoke in a British accent. She was divorced and had a 19-year-old son who lived with his father.


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Twitter: @mauradolan

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