Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Efren Saldivar: Hospital Executioner


As a practical joke, a couple of the other respiratory therapists decided to put someone else's clothing in Saldivar's locker, so on his night off, they pried it open. Someone noticed a bag and when the contents were examined, the bag proved to contain some very potent drugs, including morphine, succinylcholine chloride, and Pavulon, a drug used to stop the breathing rhythms of patients who were going onto a respirator. On a shelf inside the locker were also some empty syringes. No respiratory therapist was allowed to handle these drugs and now they had real evidence to support their suspicions.

Yet because they had discovered this stash by breaking into the locker, they remained mute on the subject. They'd reported on Saldivar the year before and nothing had happened. Chances were good that they would get into trouble, not him. Still, they now knew that it was true that Saldivar had a magic syringe.

Then one of the therapists, a female named Ursula Anderson, happened to mention Saldivar's after-dark activities to a man in a bar. His name was Grant Brossus, and he saw an opportunity to make some money. He thought it might be worth something to the hospital to have this information to keep it out of the hands of the police. Lieberman indicates that Brossus was estimating that he might be paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000.

Glendale Police Dept (new building)
Glendale Police Dept (new building)

So in February of 1998, he called Glendale Adventist Medical Center. He didn't even have a name to offer in this tip, but when they went down the list of almost forty therapists who worked there, he recalled something that sounded like Saldivar's name.

Since this tip had come from a source unrelated to the first one—just someone named "Grant"—the hospital administrators were alarmed. They felt it was time to hand the case over to the Glendale Police Department, but they also continued to conduct their own investigation. During that time, two more patients died on the Respiratory Unit.

The investigator who took the case was Sergeant John McKillop in robbery-homicide. He met with the three administrators and they told him about the previous tip the year before. They also provided the pager number of the caller who had left the most recent tip, so McKillop tracked him down. Then he contacted his former partner, a top detective in Glendale named Will Currie. They also brought aboard Tony Futia, who ran the background check on Brossus. The guy turned out to have a lengthy record, which could make his so-called tip a bit suspicious. He'd done time and had participated in a range of crimes from cocaine to grand theft. Yet they still had to follow it up. If it was a good tip, they could stop a killer and save people's lives.

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