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Report: Mercy Death Claim Retracted

April 8, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The hospital worker who told police he committed mercy killings of up to 50 patients now claims he made it all up.

``I lied. I fabricated the confession,″ Efren Saldivar told the nationally syndicated TV magazine ``Extra″ in an interview scheduled for broadcast Thursday.

``I want to set things straight, I still have a conscience,″ Saldivar told the program.

The respiratory therapist’s comments to ``Extra″ confirm there was a confession, the show said in a news release Wednesday.

Saldivar’s brother has denied Saldivar made a confession.

The ABC-TV program ``20/20″ also will air a Saldivar interview Friday. He has otherwise avoided reporters. An independent story broker specializing in elusive newsmakers arranged the TV interviews, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. The programs said no money was offered.

Saldivar, 28, has been in seclusion since state medical licensing authorities revealed on March 27 that police in suburban Glendale were investigating his confession to killing terminally ill patients over a number of years at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

No criminal charges have been filed against Saldivar, who was released by police shortly after his interrogation. Police are seeking evidence to corroborate the confession.

Police Sgt. Rick Young said earlier this week that investigators were aware Saldivar would appear in television interviews.

``What he says on those shows doesn’t really affect us,″ Young said.

Hospital officials would not address Saldivar’s new claim.

``The hospital will continue to fully cooperate with the Glendale Police Department until the truth is discovered,″ spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said Wednesday.

Saldivar’s respiratory care license has been suspended by the state and he was fired from the hospital.

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