Private Detective Search Continues for Mystery Man in SF General Patient Death

Authorities continued to search Wednesday for a mystery man wearing an employee badge who reported seeing a missing patient in a San Francisco General Hospital stairwell days before her body was found.

In an email to KTVU, hospital officials said they hadn’t found the man yet and hoped once they were able to identify him “it results in more answers to what happened to her, which we all want to learn.”

San Francisco General spokeswoman Rachael Kagan, echoed that sentiment.

“We appreciate the expanded efforts,” she said. “To find this important witness who may have information into the death of Lynne Spalding. We hope that it will lead to more answers to this tragedy.”

Authorities described the man as an Asian man, approximately 30-40 years old, five-feet-8 inches tall with a medium build.

At the time, he may have been wearing a blue shirt and possibly a tie. He also was wearing what appeared to be an employee identification badge.

David Perry, a spokesman for Spalding’s family, said hospital chief of staff Dr. Jeff Critchfield called the family and their attorney last week to update them on the investigation into her death.

Critchfield told the family that on Oct. 4 at 7:17 a.m., a man was heard knocking on the door of stairwell number 8, Perry said.

Critchfield said a female senior staff member opened the door, at which point the person who knocked reported that there was someone lying on the stairwell between the third and fourth floors, Perry said.

The person who made the report was apparently wearing a hospital badge, but rushed away after the report and has not stepped forward or been identified since then, Perry said.

Spalding, a 57-year-old woman who had been admitted to the hospital for an infection on Sept. 19, disappeared two days later.

Spalding, who family members said was frail and may have been confused due to medication she was taking, remained missing for more than two weeks despite searches of the hospital and surrounding neighborhoods.

Then on Oct. 8, she was found dead by a hospital employee doing routine inspections in a stairwell that had apparently not been checked during the previous searches.

The incident is under investigation by multiple agencies including San Francisco police and the sheriff’s department.

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