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Coroner: Death in airport cell accidental

Nov. 9, 2007 at 4:15 PM

PHOENIX, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A woman detained at the Phoenix airport died of accidental asphyxiation while handcuffed in a holding cell, a coroner's report released Friday said.

Carol Anne Gotbaum, daughter-in-law of New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Victor Gotbaum, one of the city's most prominent labor leaders, was on her way to a rehabilitation center. She was arrested during a layover at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Sept. 28.

The Maricopa County, Ariz., medical examiner also said that Gotbaum was intoxicated on alcohol and prescription drugs at the time of her death, the Arizona Republic reported. The report suggested that Gotbaum, whose hands were cuffed behind her back and shackled to a bench, somehow hanged herself while struggling against the chains.

The Gotbaum family has hired independent experts to investigate the death. Michael Manning, a lawyer for the family, said that Carol Gotbaum was clearly upset about leaving her children while she was in rehab.

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