Carol Ann Gotbaum fought with depression and alcoholism for years before her sudden death in a Phoenix airport lockup earlier this week, her stepmother-in-law, Betsy Gotbaum, told the New York Times. The Times reconstructs the struggle of the gregarious mother of three, from a breakdown a year earlier, which some in the family considered a suicide attempt, through several short-term stints in rehab.
Described by long-time friends as charming and stylish, Carol had suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her third child, and was hit hard by the death of her father. A South-African native, she talked often of feeling isolated after giving up her job as a buyer for a London department store to move to New York. She was on her way to an Arizona addiction-treatment clinic when apparently strangled herself in a holding cell. The Gotbaum family is conducting an independent investigation.