More information, (including airport video), about Carol Ann Gotbaum. Police have issued a statement about the case: “Officers had no information … that Ms. Gotbaum had traveled unescorted” from New York to Phoenix “to seek treatment for a substance abuse issue,” the statement said.

“The officers had no knowledge of any of Ms. Gotbaum’s personal issues. They had not been apprised of any calls from the family to the airport seeking to locate Ms. Gotbaum.”[CNN] (Thanks, DJ Bambino!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. FLConsumer says:

    That still doesn’t excuse them for leaving her handcuffed & unsupervised when she was obviously upset. For that matter, since when has being upset been a crime?

  2. Falconfire says:

    @FLConsumer: Thats pretty much the take of everyone in the law enforcement community. These officers fucked up BIG TIME by leaving a person handcuffed alone. Its like the number 2 rule of detaining a person behind making sure you secure them properly, you NEVER leave them alone where they can harm themselves, even accidentally.

  3. chinadoll724 says:


    She wasn’t just “upset,” she was very combative with the officers that were called to respond.

    “According to the police statement, Gotbaum “became agitated and loud” and threw her hand-held PDA, which shattered after narrowly missing a person.”

    I think that makes it a bit more understandable. And they definately made the right decision not to let her on to the plane. She had been drinking AND she was already acting very strangely. She could have caused a lot more problems on the plane, and it probably would have had to make an emergency landing. Not to make light of this situation, but they made the right decisions.

  4. descend says:

    Her family must be so ashamed of its behavior.

  5. dirty foreigner says:

    CNN had a “security expert” on saying that the officers did nothing wrong. But I didn’t hear them mention anything about how she died (granted I was at the bank so didn’t hear all the audio), they just talked about how the cops did the right thing while arresting her.

  6. chinadoll724 says:

    @dirty foreigner:

    As far as I know, they still haven’t figured out the cause yet. They did an initial autopsy, but it was inconclusive so they’re doing a second one.

  7. protest says:

    why the hell would someone like this be flying alone? i just can’t wrap my head around it. this mother of 3 young kids died alone and afraid, there is just no excuse.

    also, this scares the sh*t out of me. i could totally see myself getting very pissed if i missed a flight, especially if it was so important. will i get arrested the next time i speak in an angry tone at an airport, or act pissed/disgruntled?? this whole police state -esque atmosphere is growing, i don’t want to sound like one of those conspiracy guys, but this really is how it starts. we are giving away so many of our rights these days. we are actomg more like cattle than human beings, just being herded through life.

  8. descend says:


    You’ll probably be arrested once you starting throwing things at other passengers, yes. You really feel that’s a symptom of a “police state”: a drunk throwing shit at people being arrested?

  9. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Put me in charge of TSA. I’ll whip that thing into shape.

    First action as head of TSA, fire Kip Hawley’s ass along with EVERYONE at TSA. It’s a broken organization with a broken management and unmotivated employees. The best way to fix it is to start over: it’s gotten so bad that it can’t be fixed.

  10. chinadoll724 says:


    If you go kicking and screaming, then probably . . . and if you throw your PDA in the direction of another passenger, then it’d be even more likely.

  11. matt1978 says:

    Lesson: Don’t be a loon in the airport.

  12. NoWin says:

    @protest: “why the hell would someone like this be flying alone?”

    Bingo. This is an aspect I find very peculiar. Husband describes her as suicidal, but also thought it was OK for her to go take the trip un-escorted….hmmmm. You accompany people (like maybe one’s own spouse?) ALL the way into rehab, or at least that is what sane people would do with a loved one. Or am I just old-fashioned?

    I said it before: there is more to this story, as sad as it is.

  13. protest says:


    all i’ve seen so far is them hauling her away in cuffs. until i see a video of her freaking out i’m not buying the cops’ lame ass attempt to justify their gross negligence.

    the point is, these officers can arrest you for anything they or some paranoid old lady deem “suspicious” and that just doesn’t sit well with me. let’s run down the list so far this year: you can’t be arab (looking), expose cleavage, wear a short skirt, take a child’s sippy cup with water through security, or be angry and scared in or around a plane.

    but you can watch porn.

  14. FLConsumer says:

    What scares me even more is the abuse of tasers. They shouldn’t be using these devices in any situation where they wouldn’t be willing to use a gun. No officer on the street has the medical training to ascertain whether a suspect will die or suffer major injuries from its use. No cardiologist I know would be willing to make that judgement without a medical examination of the subject first.

  15. dazette says:

    Families are supposed to support, protect, and take care of their own–especially when a person is in trouble mentally or physically. This family, I am sorry to say, did not. Quite simply, this tragedy would not have occured had the lady been accompanied on her trip by someone, anyone, who cared about her welfare.

  16. chili_dog says:

    @protest: The video shown here on Fox 10 News is longer and more detailed. It dosen’t have audio but it shows her running around the area, but not throwing anything.

    You said though: “i could totally see myself getting very pissed if i missed a flight, especially if it was so important.” If you really expect yourself to lose control over a missed flight, please do not travel by commercial air. There is nothing that grants permission to anyone to act like an ass in an airport no matter how important a connection is.

  17. Sudonum says:

    Especially when you missed it while you were sitting in an airport bar on your way to rehab because you didn’t hear the announcement. FWIW one news article I read the other day said that the family had “regretted” their decision to let her fly alone. But apparently thought she’d be ok because someone was supposed to meet her at Phoenix. That person failed to show. The problem I have even with that is the fact that there is alcohol readily available on the flight from NY.

  18. Mary says:

    @protest: What about what the witnesses, and their corroborating stories?

  19. bambino says:

    @protest: watch the fucking first part of the video. how much more evidence do you need.

  20. veraikon says:

    @dazette: I totally agree. Sadly, it seems like the way most families deal with substance-addicted loved ones is either a) living in complete denial of the person’s problem or b) disapproving from afar, but never intervening for fear of getting sucked into the drama.

  21. E-Bell says:

    Am I supposed to feel sorry for this crazy bitch?

    Because I don’t.

  22. protest says:


    yeah sorry i don’t have time to watch every single video as it is released, i said i hadn’t seen one with her freaking out, now chill.

    @CHILI_DOG thanks for the video, but i sort of have to disagree with the ass thing. i’m not saying that i would go bonkers and throw stuff at people, but get pissed? sure. act like an ass? think about all the assholes you’ve ever encountered in a public place. i have witnessed dudes catcalling to young girls at the top of their lungs in malls for example. are they arrested for it? absolutely not! i can curse out an ass or ignore him all i want, but he does have the right to be an asshole.

    on the other hand, i sort of like your view and wish i could call the cops on the RIAA for being asses.

  23. ipsedixiter says:

    She was a nasty drunk and was rightly arrested for her behavior. She likely died from DT’s since she was en route to an alcohol detox facility. It’s too bad that she died, but it surely isn’t the fault of the police.

  24. ancientsociety says:

    If she really did “throw something” at other passengers, why isn’t it on the video?In situations like this, it’s normal for the police to say “well she was arrested because she did X”. And then they release the video evidence and incident X is conveniently NOT on the video. Hmmm, interesting…

    Anyway, regardless of how or why she was arrested, this video certainly does not exonerate the police in her death or answer any questions about how and why she died.

    It’s a red herring, it throws the media of the real issue and boosts the egos of the authorities’ supporters. “See? See? She’s a dirty nasty drunk! No wonder she died! I bet it was her own fault too!”

  25. mconfoy says:

    @chinadoll724: You always believe the cops? I have some cheap property great for retirement in West Texas, pleny of water. Interested?

  26. mconfoy says:

    @descend: @chinadoll724: @matt1978: @ipsedixiter: @bambino: @E-Bell:

    Evidently the self-absorption and lack of human decency is much higher than one would expect on a site like this. Just because you have a mental health problem, does not mean you should be put in a position that gets you killed by law enforcement. We don’t have a death penalty for have mental health issues show up in public. What is wrong with you people? Are you jaded Republicans that believe survival of the fittest and if the rest die, too bad? Is this what is really happening in this country, massive uncaring and unfeeling people looking out for #1?

  27. mconfoy says:

    @IRSistherootofallevil: What has this got to do with airport police in Phoenix?

  28. chinadoll724 says:


    Actually, I’m quite liberal. However, I don’t think the police have the resources to evaluate the mental health capacity of every individual they have to arrest. In this case, this could have been easily avoided by a family member or friend, travelling with her, that could explain her situation. While mental health issues are real, it doesn’t automatically put the fault on officers.

  29. chili_dog says:

    @protest: Being an ass at the airport is hardly the same thing as being one in the mall.

    Lest we all forget that all commercial airports, while locally owned are primarily governed by the federal government and in most cases the FARs. If you want to see how it works read part 121, 139 and 405. Quite an insight as to how strict the whole aviation thing is.

    When I was an airline employee we were trained in how to interact and properly assist with federal investigators because anything that occurred on the property would be a federal offense.

  30. chili_dog says:

    “Noah Gotbaum made his first call to warn airport authorities that his wife was suicidal 70 minutes after she was pronounced dead, Phoenix police said this evening.



  31. vanilla-fro says:

    @protest: I don’t remember the skimpy dressed girls being arrested. Did I miss something?
    Look, it comes down to supervision of the detained person. Did she need to be detained? maybe, especially if she was throwing things. Hell she could’ve gotten beaten to death on the spot by some other drunk if she threw her phone at him.

    She shouldn’t have been alone on this trip with the mental problems and the fact that she was on her way to rehab for something that is sold at airports. The police should have been watching her while she was in their custody, both sides are at fault here. Let’s not just blame the cops because we hate the government, there is still some responsibility on her and her family’s part.

    Also it seems like a good portion of the commenters here need to read the part where it states that she may have killed herself with the handcuffs.

  32. E-Bell says:

    @mconfoy: Killed by law enforcement?

    Did you read the same article I did? She killed herself. Discussion over. End of story. Why is that so hard to understand?

    No, I don’t particularly care for a crazy addict that I’ve never met. Why does that make me a bad person? Should I be in love with every psychopath that I have never had the pleasure of crossing paths with?

  33. mconfoy says:

    @E-Bell: Now we know she had serious depression and tried to commit suicide. Maybe you call people like that crazy because they have an illness that can not be helped, but I call your lack of common decency something that can be helped and thus you have no excuse for your failure in life.

  34. E-Bell says:

    Yes, I call that crazy.

    I still don’t see why I should care. Or why you care if I care.

    I’m not a bad person. I’m not a “failure in life.” I have a good job, a wonderful family and lots of other folks that I care about.

    What I fail to understand is how you blame this on the cops. Is it a simple lack of reading comprehension? Internet-tough-guy-itis? Do you have some kind of mental illness that fills you with a need to insult those with whom you disagree?

    Or are you, simply, an asshole?