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Police Expand Mercy Killing Probe

April 1, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The investigation of a hospital worker who confessed to mercy killings at one facility was expanded to include other hospitals that employed him, officials said Wednesday.

Glendale police obtained by search warrant ``a variety of records″ pertaining to respiratory therapist Efren Saldivar’s employment at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, Pacifica Administrator Trude Williams said.

``We have been cooperating with the police,″ Ms. Williams told The Associated Press.

She said police picked up the documents in mid-March, about two weeks before state regulators revealed that Saldivar had confessed to killing 40 to 50 terminally ill patients at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

She said Saldivar worked at Pacifica, a 248-bed hospital, for ``less than six months″ as a part-time per diem worker. Per diem workers provide services on an as-needed, often temporary, basis without company benefits.

Ms. Williams declined to give any other details about Saldivar’s employment.

Glendale police spokesman Sgt. Rick Young confirmed the investigation was expanded to ``other hospitals″ besides Pacifica and Glendale Adventist, but he refused to say which ones.

Glendale police have said Saldivar was employed by at least two other hospitals besides Glendale Adventist and Pacifica. The others were the former Thompson Memorial Hospital, now named Vencor Hospital of Burbank, and Glendale Memorial.

Officials at Vencor and Glendale Memorial didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Saldivar, believed to be in his late 20s and a resident of the Tujunga section of Los Angeles, was fired from Glendale Adventist on March 13 after giving the confession and having his license suspended.

According to a police declaration, Saldivar, during his confession, was asked by a polygraph examiner on March 11 ``if he considered himself an angel of death. Saldivar replied yes.″

But Saldivar was released from custody because police had no evidence to corroborate his claims. Saldivar faces no charges. His whereabouts are unknown, and he didn’t appear at a license suspension hearing on Tuesday.

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