Follow-up on the police report, with new photos of Carol Gotbaum and her family.
Carol Gotbaum with her three children Ella, Nathaniel and Tobias.
Carol with husband Noah and their kids.
Here's the update on the police report I promised, along with some new photos released by the Gotbaum family. They show Noah and Carol Gotbaum with their kids: Ella, 8; Nathaniel, 6; and Tobias, 3. Certainly they had a beautiful family.
I read through the entire police report on Carol Gotbaum's arrest and death last night. As I mentioned in last night's post, I found it interesting that Gotbaum's husband Noah called police with the information his wife was suicidal right around the time she was arrested. Seems he had been talking to his wife via cell phone, so he knew her state of mind. He informed the cops a family friend was headed to the airport and could take custody of her. And he continued to call back to alert the cops that they were dealing with a seriously disturbed woman. This apparently continued even after his wife had been pronounced dead. At that point, the cops had yet to notify him Carol Gotbaum was gone.
Arizona State University Sun Devils Hockey vs. Harvard University Crimson Mens Hockey
TicketsFri., Oct. 28, 7:05pm
Roads to Ozz
TicketsFri., Oct. 28, 7:30pm
Flight of the Conchords Sing Flight of the Conchords
TicketsFri., Oct. 28, 8:00pm
Arizona Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 6:00pm
Carol and Noah Gotbaum.
"They're playing with real fire right now," Noah Gotbaum tells a communications person at the airport, later adding that his wife is "suicidal" and that they're dealing with "a medical emergency."
The phone transcripts do not indicate that this info. about Carol Gotbaum's mental state was passed on to anyone. Weirdly, the transcripts do indicate the communications person ordering Chinese food between calls from Noah Gotbaum. "I'll have some spring rolls with that," the communications person says, right before Gotbaum calls again. This is after Carol's death, it seems, and this communications dillweed is focused on his friggin' springrolls.
There's some interesting stuff in the report about the way her body was found. The first page of the report states that Carol Gotbaum "was pronounced dead at 1529 hours by Capt. Ohmart, after CPR failed." It also states she was "found seated on floor of holding room with head on bench and hands and handcuffs under chin across throat."
Carol with her youngest child Tobias, 3.
One of the arresting officers, Officer Andrew Woyna, describes discovering Gotbaum's slumped-over body:
"[Woyna] said she was sitting on the floor with her face to the wall. Her head was on the bench and he thought that she might have fallen asleep, not an uncommon reaction after being arrested and allowed to calm down. He said that her face was resting on her hands and he first thought she had taken a nap. However, she would not respond when he called out to her. He then entered the holding cell and saw the handcuffs against her neck."
Officer Terri Klepper, the woman who searched Gotbaum and removed her jewelry as Gotbaum was struggling all the way, noted "that the woman smelled strongly of intoxicating beverage on her breath." She also observed that,
"The floor of the holding cell is smooth, without carpet. The woman had no shoes and [had on] nylon 1/2 socks [sic]. She said that the floor would be slick for someone who was wearing that kind of sock."
Also, during one internal briefing, the discovery of Gotbaum's body was explained this way:
"A short time after being placed in the cell Ms. Gotbaum stopped yelling. Officer Woyna went to check on her and found her down on the floor with the handcuffs under her chin as she sat on the floor with her head on the bench."
Klepper's comments make you wonder if the slickness of the floor and the fact she was in her socks may have contributed to what happened. When Gotbaum was arrested, she was not wearing any shoes.
The report details how when county pathologist Dr. Ann Bucholtz inspected the holding cell, she sat where Gotbaum had been sitting and mimicked her moves, trying to figure out how Gotbaum succeeded in strangling herself. Bucholtz commented that she was approximately the same size and build as the victim.
Carol Gotbaum with her three kids.
Several witnesses said they thought Gotbaum was drunk, crazy or on drugs, though it looks like Klepper is the only one who noted the smell of alcohol, unless I missed something in my review. The airline gate agent, a Ms. Grenier, stated that Gotbaum was carrying some food. Grenier thought Gotbaum "must've been at the Roadhouse 66 bar, based on the package." Grenier said Roadhouse 66 is "a sports bar/restaurant in the concourse."
At several points, Gotbaum referred to herself as a "pathetic depressed mother" and a "depressed, pathetic housewife." I'm reminded of that novel by Kate Chopin The Awakening, and the John Cassavetes film A Woman on the Verge, both with their self-destructive female protagonists. To what degree the cops were responsible (or not) for Gotbaum's end, the courts will decide. That her end was a sad and tawdry one is self-evident.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.