Carol Anne Gotbaum, a 45-year-old mother of three, was detained after she became irate when she missed her flight at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, a spokesman for US Airways said.
After she was handcuffed and put into a holding cell, authorities said she screamed for 10 minutes and then abruptly stopped. When officers checked on her to determine why she had become quiet, they found her unresponsive.
It now appears she may have gotten tangled up with her handcuffs around her neck when while trying to escape, a Phoenix police spokesman said.
Police also said no Taser or pepper spray was used on Gotbaum, whose cause of death will be determined by the Maricopa County medical examiner.