PHOENIX – A woman late to her plane became irate, was put in handcuffs and was later found dead in a holding cell, police said.
Authorities were investigating Saturday if the woman choked herself while trying to get free from the handcuffs.
Carol Ann Gotbaum, 45, of New York, was arrested Friday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after a conflict with gate crews who refused to allow her to board a plane, said Sgt. Andy Hill, a Phoenix police spokesman.
The airline said the plane was already preparing to depart. She was rebooked on the next flight, but “she became extremely irate, apparently running up and down the gate area,” US Airways spokesman Derek Hanna said Saturday.
Officers handcuffed her and took her to the holding room, where she kept screaming, authorities said. Hill said officers checked on her when she stopped screaming and found her unresponsive.
Hill said it appears Gotbaum may have tried to get out of her handcuffs, became tangled in the process and the cuffs ended up around her neck. A cause of death will be determined by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner.
“She was very agitated and irate and angry,” Hill said. “These are the things that led to the disorderly conduct arrest.”
Authorities said neither a Taser nor pepper spray was used on the woman.