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Foul play ruled out in death of missing S.F. patient

SAN FRANCISCO Authorities have ruled out foul play in the death of a woman whose body was found in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital weeks after she went missing from her hospital bed, CBS San Francisco station KPIX-TV reports.

Lynne Spalding's death is no longer considered suspicious, the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office said Thursday.

"That is some cold comfort at this point, but certainly we await the final determination of what was the cause of death," said David Perry, a family friend, adding that relatives have been frustrated by the pace of the investigation.

The coroner officially confirmed Spalding's identity on Thursday. Officials said it could be another day before investigators revealed how she died.

The San Francisco Sheriff's Office still has not disclosed how Spalding's body went unfound until Tuesday, more than two weeks after she disappeared on Sept. 21.

Spalding somehow wound up in an emergency stairwell on the 4th floor. Her bed was one floor above in room 5D, according to hospital sources.

Perry said there has been little sense of urgency or cooperation from those in charge of the inquiry.

"The family is very frustrated with the type of communication that has been coming out of San Francisco General, and frankly, the timeliness of it."

Spalding was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 19 to be treated for an infection. Because of her frail condition and confused mental state, hospital officials were checking on her every 15 minutes on the day that she disappeared.