SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — A woman found dead in a locked stairwell 17 days after she went missing from her room at San Francisco General Hospital died accidentally, probably due to a chemical imbalance related to chronic alcohol abuse, the medical examiner’s office said Friday.
Lynne Spalding, 57, had been dead for days before she was found Oct. 8, San Francisco Assistant Medical Examiner Ellen Moffat said.
Spalding had been admitted to the hospital Sept. 19 with a urinary infection, and she also had an altered mental state for one to two months and weight loss for two weeks, Moffat’s report said. Her laboratory test results were consistent with “alcoholic liver disease.”
Two days after she was admitted, she disappeared from her hospital room. According to the coroner’s report, Spalding was confused and delirious that day. She didn’t know the day or time or even why she was in the hospital.
Her decomposing remains weren’t found until 2 1/2 weeks later, on Oct. 8, when a maintenance worker walked down the stairwell during his quarterly inspection.