US Airways Passenger Who Died In Airport Holding Cell Was On Her Way To Rehab

This story just keeps getting sadder. Carol Anne Gotbaum, the passenger who got into a screaming match with US Airways gate attendants and later died in a holding cell after being arrested, was on her way to an alcohol treatment center in Tucson to seek help. She was also the stepdaughter-in-law of New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

The public advocate has released a statement, according to the NYT:

Saying it appeared that her stepdaughter-in-law had been “manhandled” by police officers before her death in police custody in Phoenix on Friday, New York City’s public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, called yesterday for an investigation into the circumstances of the death.

“The family has not reached a conclusion as to whether her care and treatment were inappropriate, but the circumstances were highly unusual,” Mr. Manning [lawyer] said. “This woman — who was 5 foot 7, less than 110 pounds — was without doubt emotionally disturbed, and at this stage the family understands why the Phoenix Police Department intervened, but it’s what happened after the intervention that causes us concern.”

“We are not jumping to any conclusions, but the circumstances surrounding Carol’s death appear to be unusual enough to raise serious questions and warrant a thorough investigation,” [Betsy Gotbaum] said. “She cried out for help at the airport, but her pleas appear to have been met by mistreatment.”

Previous reports have described Gotbaum as screaming, “I’m not a terrorist! I’m a sick mom! I need help!”

NYC Public Advocate’s Relative Who Died at Airport Was Heading to Rehab [Fox News]
Gotbaum Seeks Investigation Into Death [NYT]
Family seeks answers in airport death [Arizona Republic]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.