2007_09_cagotbaum2.jpgThe family of Manhattan resident who died while in police custody at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Friday night is awaiting more details about her death. US Airways and airport police say that Carol Anne Gotbaum, who was married to the stepson of NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, had been acting irately and would not calm down, so she was handcuffed and left in an airport holding cell.

Police say they checked on her every 15 minutes; she had been screaming the entire time, but at one point, police realized she was quiet and found that she was not breathing. She had been handcuffed behind her back but when Gotbaum was found, her hands were front of her and the handcuffs were up by her neck, leading police to believe she was trying to get out of the handcuffs. Sergeant Andy Hill had said, "It appeared as though Ms. Gotbaum had possibly tried to manipulate the handcuffs from behind her to the front, got tangled up in the process, and they ended up around her neck area."

The Daily News has details from witnesses at the airport:

"I'm not a terrorist! I'm a sick mom! I need help!" yelled the mother of three after she missed the 2:58 p.m. US Airways Express flight to Tucson, said airport workers who witnessed the confrontation Friday.

They said one cop put his knee in her back to restrain her while others grabbed her flailing arms.

"I believe she was a little not-there. She kept punching. She kept screaming. She kept kicking," one worker told The News. "She looked really scared, really frightened. I think she was afraid to go to jail."

The police said they did not use pepper spray or a Taser on Gotbaum; they apparently performed CPR and emphasize that "The longest she was alone was five or 10 minutes."

Yesterday, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum held a brief press conference, saying, "She was a wonderful mother, she was sweet and kind and loving. It's obviously very, very difficult for us, we are dealing with it as best we can. My number one focus is those children and my stepson. I hope the press will consider our feelings and please, please, please don't ask us any more questions."

A local Arizona TV station says the medical examiner could release a preliminary report by the end of the week.

Updated: A lawyer for Gotbaum's family says that Carol Ann Gotbaum was on her way to an alcohol rehabilitation program in Tucson. Lawyer Michael Manning has delayed the autopsy, originally scheduled for today, and asked that an outside pathologist be present. He told The Arizona Republic, "We have strong concerns about how this 110-pound woman may have ended up strangling herself, given that she was cuffed behind her back and shackled to a bench." He also said Gotbaum was definitely upset when she missed her flight, "People who do muster the courage to check themselves in, they need to do it before they change their mind. It's a very delicate emotional balance when you finally realize [that] you need help."