Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum called for an investigation Monday into her step daughter-in-law’s mysterious death in a Phoenix airport holding cell on Friday and asked the Maricopa County medical examiner to delay an autopsy by 24 hours so the Gotbaum family can have someone present during the procedure.
Carol Gotbaum, a 45-year-old mother of three, was on her way to an alcohol rehab center when she was “manhandled by police” after she was arrested for disorderly conduct when she was not allowed on a plane about to take off, Betsy Gotbaum said. Phoenix police said Gotbaum somehow choked herself trying to escape her handcuffs.
Betsy Gotbaum released the following statement:
“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.Carol, who was only five foot seven and one-hundred and five pounds, appears to have been manhandled by the Phoenix Police Department. She was a loving and devoted mother of three children under the age of nine who was on her way to an alcohol rehabilitation facility to seek treatment for herself. She cried out for help at the airport, but her pleas appear to have been met by mistreatment.”
A full autopsy was rescheduled for Tuesday so that the Gotbaum family could have their own forensic pathologist present.