UCLA Med Student Accused of Stealing From Dying Woman


A medical student faces felony charges for the theft of an iPad that belonged to a cancer patient at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

The case represents a tragic intersection of the lives of two young women in their early 30s.

Clipboard02Hospitalized with an aggressive form of breast cancer, keeping her iPad at bedside, Natalie Packer went into cardiac arrest. It was during the Code Blue response to try to revive her that the iPad disappeared, according to her family.

Months later, authorities found the iPad in the possession of Virginia Nguyen, 32, identified as a third-year student at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of petty theft, grand theft of lost property, and also of computer access and fraud.



She made a brief court appearance Friday morning and was ordered to return Oct. 3.

Recovering the iPad was important for Packer’s family, her uncle Sam Heller said, because in her final days she had been entering personal messages and information for her sister Nicole.

A few days after Natalie Packer’s death, she activated Apple’s finder app, and it discovered the iPad at the Medical Center.  It also revealed that “Natalie’s iPad” had been re-registered with Apple as “Virginia’s iPad,” Heller said.



It was at that point that the family contacted University Police. Ultimately, a detective obtained a search warrant for the re-registration information recorded wih Apple, revealing Nguyen’s last name.

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