Husband's calls to Phx. airport came too late

Carol Anne Gotbaum
Carol Anne Gotbaum

PHOENIX, ARIZ (AP) -- The husband of a New York woman who died in police custody made his first call to warn airport authorities here that his wife was suicidal 70 minutes after she was pronounced dead, according to police.

On Thursday, Phoenix police released transcripts of Noah Gotbaum's phone calls inquiring about the welfare of his wife, Carol Anne Gotbaum, that were placed on the same afternoon she was arrested and later found dead in a holding room at Sky Harbor International Airport on Sept. 28.

But a police review of call logs showed Noah Gorbaum's earliest call to Sky Harbor on that day came at 4:39 p.m., a little more than an hour after she died, police said Friday.

The department issued a statement that said police "had no information about her personal issues prior to her arrest and death."

Carol Gotbaum's cause of death is still under investigation and will likely not be available for at least two weeks, the Maricopa County Medical Examiner said.

The 45-year-old mother of three and stepdaughter-in-law of New York's public advocate was on her way to alcohol rehabilitation in Tucson, Ariz., when she was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after causing a disturbance in the airport terminal.

Surveillance video show her running through an airport terminal, bowing abruptly as she appeared to yell and then resisting arrest as three officers try to control her.

After police handcuffed Carol Gotbaum behind her back, she locked her legs as officers held her by the arms and pushed her, still standing, through the terminal at Sky Harbor, the video shows.

Police released the video Thursday and their report on her arrest amid allegations from Gotbaum's family that officers manhandled her before her death.

The family and the attorney have said they will not comment during a mourning period that ends early next week.

Noah Gotbaum has said he exchanged several phone calls with his wife during her two-hour layover at Sky Harbor.

He called emergency dispatchers before learning of his wife's death to say she was in a deep depression and suicidal, according to the police report.

But police said Friday in a statement that Carol Gotbaum "died prior to any call being made by Mr. Noah Gotbaum to the Airport Communications Center and prior to the Phoenix Police Department Airport officers having any information about her."

Police said Carol Gotbaum was shackled to a bench and left alone in a holding room where she was later found unconscious and not breathing, with the chain from the shackle pulled against the front of her neck.

Carol Gotbaum was pronounced dead by Phoenix Fire Department paramedics at 3:29 p.m. and the first call from her husband to the Airport Communications Center came in at 4:39 p.m., police said Friday.

Posted by LS

CBS and Associated Press contributed to this report.