A SHERIFF in San Fransisco has admitted mistakes were made in the search for a missing Peterlee woman whose body was eventually found in a hospital stairwell.
Lynne Spalding, 57, from Peterlee, was being treated at the city’s General Hospital when she disappeared on September 21.
Her body was found 17 days later in one of the hospital’s exterior stairwells.
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi told reporters at a press conference in Californian city that he wanted to make sure it never happened again.
Ms Spalding, who moved to San Francisco several years ago, was being treated for a bladder infection at the hospital.
The hospital was searched and police opened a missing person investigation.
Sheriff Mirkarimi told reporters at City Hall that deputies searching for Ms Spalding had failed to look in all the stairwells.
They also had the wrong racial description for the mother of two and waited days to share surveillance footage.
Ms Spalding’s body was found in a rarely used stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital
“She could have been anyone’s loved one, which is why the gravity of the situation is not lost on any of us,” said Sheriff Mirkarimi.
”What happened to Miss Spalding Ford should not have happened to anyone.”
Ms Spalding’s family has previously criticised the slow progress of the police and hospital investigation into how she was able to remain missing for so long.
Ms Spalding, who was mother to a 23-year-old daughter and a son, aged 19, had worked in the travel industry.
The medical examiner has yet to say how she died.