First Autopsy Of Deceased US Airways Passenger Inconclusive

The first autopsy of Carol Ann Gotbaum, the woman who died in a Phoenix airport holding cell after being arrested for causing a disturbance, was inconclusive and a second will be performed.

Gotbaum, who had attempted suicide twice before, was supposed to meet a friend at the airport. The friend didn’t show, and Gotbaum, who was on her way to an alcohol treatment center in Tucson, got drunk and missed her flight, according to airline workers.

From the Daily News:

The daughter-in-law of city Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum frantically dialed home when Phoenix ticket agents refused to let her board a flight to a stint in alcohol rehab.

“They are not letting me on! It’s all falling apart,” Carol Anne Gotbaum told her husband, Noah, before she dropped the phone at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, witnesses said.

Noah Gotbaum called back, desperately trying to persuade the U.S. Airways Express agent to calm his wife and let the mother of three board the plane for the $42,000-a-month Cottonwood de Tucson rehab program, friends and witnesses said.

“It will be okay. She just needs to take her medication. … She hasn’t taken it today,” an airline worker said Noah Gotbaum begged. His wife was taking prescriptions for anxiety and depression, sources said.

The airline agent called Phoenix police, who soon grappled with and cuffed the distraught 45-year-old, then shackled her to a bench in an airport holding area Friday.

Less than an hour later, Carol Anne Gotbaum was dead, apparently strangled by the 16-inch chain used to hook her handcuffs to the bench.

A witness speaking to WCBS says Gotbaum was screaming, ‘You’re hurting me! The handcuffs are too tight on me!'”

Another says, “She got her cell phone, broke it on a couple of customers and she threw it on the floor, hit them.”

Carol Anne Gotbaum’s desperate last call [Daily News via Gothamist]
Passenger Describes Gotbaum Incident in Phoenix [WCBS]