Someone may have seen Lynne Spalding a week before her dead body was found in a San Francisco General Hospital stairwell.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a hospital orderly reported stepping over an unconscious woman sometime during the first week of October – days before Spalding’s body was found.
The orderly told a nurse, the newspaper reported, who then told the sheriff’s department.
The newspaper says it’s unclear whether she was alive at that point and why the sheriff’s department didn’t find the woman after they were told a body was in that area.
Spalding, 57, was admitted to the city-owned hospital with an infection on Sept. 19 and reported missing from her room two days later. Her body was found in a locked stairwell on Oct. 8, 17 days after she walked off from her hospital room.
The stairwell is a fire exit that has an alarm on it, and is locked from the outside and exits onto hospital grounds.
The cause of her death is still under investigation. A spokesman for her family says investigators have ruled out foul play.
"Lynne Spalding died alone in a stairwell and her body had been there for 17 days," said David Perry, a family friend.
Perry was among the many friends and family who spent countless hours searching for her, putting up flyers and sharing her story on social media.
“This is a nightmare," Perry said. "Steps must be taken to make sure this never happens again."
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, since the discovery of Spalding's body, hospital staff must now manually deactivate security alarms that go off and conduct sweeps of the building's fire escapes and stairwells.