SAN FRANCISCO -- A woman’s body has been discovered in a rarely used stairwell at a hospital where a female patient went missing more than two weeks ago, officials said.
Authorities did not immediately say whether the woman found Tuesday at San Francisco General Hospital was Lynne Spalding, 57, a native of England who was being treated for an infection at the hospital when she disappeared from her room on Sept. 21.
Police, coroner and sheriff’s officials were investigating the death of the woman found at about 10 a.m. by an employee in the exterior stairwell that is used as a fire exit, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.
It’s not clear how long the woman was there, or how she got there.
“It’s very concerning,” Kagan said. “We’re distressed and don’t know what happened. It’s our top priority to find out.”
Spaulding was last seen two days after she was admitted to the hospital. Friends say she was very thin and frail, was on medication and probably very confused. A missing persons report was filed with police, who have been investigating her disappearance.
CBS San Francisco station KPIX-TV reports all indications are Spalding walked out of her hospital room. She had her pocketbook with her, but left her cell phone in the room, the station says.
palding had reported feeling disoriented from her medication, KPIX says, adding that hospital officials said they’d searched the entire facility.
Spalding’s friends and neighbors had posted missing person flyers throughout San Francisco and started a Facebook page hoping to find her, to no avail.
KPIX says Spalding friends and family members are “confused, horrified and outraged” and raising lots of questions.
The hospital says it’s reviewing it policies on searching for missing patients.