Last Nov. An ambulance, he told them, was rushing her to St. He asked them to come watch his three young children, Ella, 7, Nathaniel, 5, and Tobias, 3. Carol Gotbaum spent one night at the hospital. Betsy Gotbaum saw her in the emergency room after she awoke.
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Last Nov. An ambulance, he told them, was rushing her to St. He asked them to come watch his three young children, Ella, 7, Nathaniel, 5, and Tobias, 3.
Carol Gotbaum spent one night at the hospital. Betsy Gotbaum saw her in the emergency room after she awoke. On Sept. Other, briefer stints in rehabilitation facilities had apparently failed. The decision set in motion a chain of events that left Carol Ann Gotbaum dead at 45 and gave rise to a number of questions about her treatment at the hands of the police in Arizona. Gotbaum, traveling alone, was denied access to a connecting flight in Phoenix because boarding had been completed by the time she arrived at the gate.
A few minutes later, when she grew silent, officers looked in the cell and found Ms. Gotbaum unconscious with the shackle stretched across her neck. Attempts by the police and medical workers to revive her were unsuccessful. Behind the disagreement on what happened in that airport holding cell, and whether there was police negligence, is the quieter and no less devastating story of a wife and mother fighting her demons.
Even those who knew her well claim not to fully understand what may have set off the depression or the drinking her husband described to them. Rather than mourning quietly, the Gotbaums have hired a private investigator — a high-profile lawyer in Phoenix — and Dr.
Cyril H. Wecht, a forensic pathologist from Pittsburgh who on Tuesday performed an autopsy independent of the one completed by the Maricopa County medical examiner. The family have sought the counsel of Howard J.
Rubenstein, the public relations expert. Above all, through their lawyer, Michael C. Manning, they have contradicted the version of events described by the Phoenix police and indicated that Ms. The police, meanwhile, have made public security tapes that show a clearly distraught woman running amok in a concourse and resisting efforts to subdue her. On the surface, Ms. But Ms. Gotbaum spoke often of her unhappiness and about many things over which she despaired.
She was far from her own family in her native South Africa, and dislocated too from London, where she had met Noah and left behind friends, a grand flat in Maida Vale, and her career as a buyer for the House of Fraser, a Scottish department store company. She and her husband decided to take their two older children out of Rodeph Sholom, a private school, and the children began public school last month.
But she worried that they were not getting enough attention there. Indeed, it was her desire to see them off to school that resulted in her missing a direct flight to Tucson and boarding a plane that would connect at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Friends who were supposed to meet her flight and escort her to the next one were delayed, and she ended up in an airport bar.
After the episode on Nov. I know my behavior is self-destructive. Carol Stiger met Noah Gotbaum at a gym. At the time, he was working for Central Europe Trust, an investment concern. Carol was gentle and elegant, an impeccable dresser with a very tailored style, Sarah Gotbaum said.
She was particularly close to her father, Sarah Gotbaum said, and spoke of fishing trips on which the two of them would catch their breakfast. Carol and Noah were married in , at the Boathouse in Central Park. She wanted to please him. Their first child was born prematurely — Sarah Gotbaum remembered a birthweight below three pounds — and spent the first month of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit in London.
Friends recalled Noah and Carol as a romantic couple who would surprise each other with jaunts to Paris or Prague. We were all slightly jealous. She was a great, gregarious woman and a real catch. Gotbaum took a job in London with Level 3, an American telecommunications company that does business abroad.
In , he decided to move his family — by then they had a second child — to the United States, where he would establish a New York office for the company, which is based in Colorado. Noah has always been a very involved parent, and Carol loved it too, but the routine was exhausting for her.
After the birth of their third child, Carol suffered from severe postpartum depression, Betsy Gotbaum said. Carol felt unsettled, those who knew her said. The couple began seeing a counselor — possibly, relatives said, as part of an alcohol treatment regimen.
Jacob Lalezari, a childhood friend of Mr. Manning, she may have had something to eat and drink. According to the police report, Officer Terri Klepper, who would eventually search Ms. Gotbaum checked in at for a flight, according to the police report, but the plane was overbooked and her seat had already been given up.
She phoned her husband on her BlackBerry, and returned to the ticket counter several times to complain. Around p. Gotbaum then took off down the concourse hallway. Another airport employee said he saw her kneel on the floor and bang her hands against it, then empty her purse.
She hurled her BlackBerry, ran up an incline toward the security area, stopped, and began bending forward several times, flailing her arms and, according to the police report, screaming profanities.
Two airport security workers approached, but Ms. Gotbaum resisted. A police officer walked up to her and, he later said, tried to calm her down. Two more officers arrived, and all three of them restrained her.
In the surveillance video, Ms. Gotbaum can be seen dropping to the ground — accounts vary as to whether she or the officers were responsible for this action — and soon her hands were cuffed behind her back. Even so, she stiffened her legs, forcing the police to pull her by her arms into a holding cell. Officer Daniel Fulton said Ms. The police report says that she was in the room by herself for six to eight minutes before she was found unconscious. She was pronounced dead at p. An Enviable Life On the surface, Ms.
The couple returned to London to live. Home Page World U.
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She was arrested after becoming angry while attempting to board her plane to enter an alcohol treatment center in Tucson, Arizona. Gotbaum was unable to board her flight, as it had been overbooked. After being denied passage on a later flight, Gotbaum became irate; reviews of publicly available closed-circuit security tapes shows her lurching about and flailing, as well as hurling a PDA device at a U. Airways employee. Several passengers subsequently claimed they attempted to switch seats so she could make her flight, but were dissuaded by employees of the airline, U. Airways but there is no information available to verify this. Soon after the assault with the PDA, security officers were called and Gotbaum was arrested.
Autopsy Finds That Death of Gotbaum Was Accident
Carol A. Gotbaum, who died in a police holding cell at a Phoenix airport in September, was accidentally strangled, according to an autopsy released yesterday, which also said intoxication from alcohol and prescription medication played a role in her death. The autopsy found her blood alcohol level to be 0. The death of Ms. Gotbaum, 45, the stepdaughter-in-law of Betsy Gotbaum, the New York City public advocate, had drawn national attention, in part because of questions of how she was handled by the Phoenix police. The spokesman, Sgt.