UK & World News
Lynne Spalding 'Not Attacked' In Hospital
A British woman whose body was found in the stairwell of a hospital in California was not the victim of an attack, her family has said.
Lynne Spalding, 57, disappeared from her room at San Francisco General Hospital two days after she was admitted for a urinary tract infection.
The mother-of-two was found by engineering staff near a fire exit on Tuesday, 17 days after she vanished.
David Perry, a spokesman for Ms Spalding's family, said although the coroner had not yet established a cause or time of death, investigators do not think she was killed.
He said the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, which provides security at the hospital, should have carried out a more thorough search once Ms Spalding disappeared.
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee announced an independent investigation into the hospital's security and search protocols.
"This should not have happened, we all agree," Mr Lee said.
"We want to prevent it from ever happening again."
The hospital's chief medical officer, Todd May, described Ms Spalding's death as "horrible".
"We are here to take care of patients, to heal them, to keep them safe," he said.
"This has shaken us to our core. Our staff are devastated."
Ms Spalding had lived in the city for more than 20 years and had two grown-up children, a 19-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter, who both live in the US.
The Foreign Office is providing consular assistance to Ms Spalding's family.