Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photoSan Francisco police are seeking to speak with a S.F. General employee who said he saw a body in the hospital's stairwell days before a woman's body was discovered.

Police seek man seen in S.F. General stairwell case

Police were trying to identify a man who reported seeing someone in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital days before a woman's body was discovered there more than two weeks after she went missing, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The man was wearing identification and reported what he saw to a senior staff member, who called the Sheriff's Department, spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said. The staff member, however, did not recognize the man.

The body of Lynne Spalding, 57, was discovered in the stairwell a few days later. Spalding was a patient at the hospital when she disappeared on Sept. 21. A cause of death has not been determined, but investigators have ruled out foul play in her death.

Haig Harris, an attorney for Spalding's family, has said hospital officials told him they asked authorities to search the building and grounds for Spalding numerous times.

Her body, however, was not found until Oct. 8.

Kagan said the man, who reported seeing someone in the stairwell on Oct. 4, might not have spotted Spalding. Homeless people have previously taken shelter in the stairwell, she said.

“We don't know it was her,” Kagan said, referring to Spalding. “That's one of the reasons we'd really like to speak to this witness.”

San Francisco police and the sheriff's office are investigating the case. A call by The Associated Press to the sheriff's office on Wednesday was not immediately returned.

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