Phoenix M.E. Rules Gotbaum’s Death an Accident


The Maricopa County Medical Examiner has ruled the death of Carol Gotbaum an accident. No word yet on what the forensic pathologist hired by the Gotbaum family has concluded.

Phoenix New Times‘s Stephen Lemon reports:

The results are in on the autopsy of Carol Anne Gotbaum, the 45-year-old mother of three who died September 28 in police custody at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. In the opinion of Maricopa County Medical Examiner Ann L. Bucholtz, Gotbaum expired “as a result of asphyxia by hanging.” She adds that “contributing factors were acute ethanol and prescription medication intoxication.” Bucholtz lists the manner of death as an accident.

Bucholtz does not explain how exactly Gotbaum was able to “hang” herself. However, in her visit to the holding cell at Sky Harbor where Gotbaum was found dead shortly after being arrested for disorderly conduct, Bucholtz notes that the officer who discovered Gotbaum slumped over, “described her facing the wall, her hands together in the front near the left side of her neck.” She goes on to say that, “He does not recall seeing the position of the leg iron chain, however her hair was loose about her shoulders and it would have been easy for it not to have been observed.”