SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi apologized for his department’s slow and incomplete search for a missing San Francisco woman whose body was found in a San Francisco General Hospital stairwell.
Mirkarimi held a news conference at City Hall Wednesday afternoon to disclose the sheriff’s department’s preliminary findings in the case of Lynne Spalding, a 57-year-old British woman found dead in the hospital stairwell on Oct. 8 after being reported missing Sept. 21.
Among the findings was that authorities alternately thought Spalding was black or Asian—she is white. Additionally, attempts to retrieve surveillance video from the time of her disappearance were unsuccessful because of faulty hardware, Mirkarimi said.
Spalding had been admitted to the hospital on Sept. 19 to be treated for an infection. Two days later, after she disappeared, a physician told a deputy that Spalding was about to be discharged when she wandered off, Mirkarimi said.
However, the physician also told the deputy that Spalding was “very confused and not safe to be out on her own,” according to the sheriff.
Mirkarimi said initial reports within the hospital about Spalding’s disappearance indicated that she was black and wearing a hospital gown, while a log book used to document information between work shifts identified her as an Asian female.
After more than a week had passed and Spalding still remained missing, hospital officials asked sheriff’s deputies to search the entire 24-acre campus, Mirkarimi said.