Marks on Terri Schiavo Not Abuse Police Say, No Criminal Wrongdoing

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 17, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Marks on Terri Schiavo Not Abuse Police Say, No Criminal Wrongdoing

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 17, 2004

Clearwater, FL ( — Local police have concluded an investigation into the marks found on Terri Schiavo’s arms and determined that there was no foul play. Terri was not harmed and there was no criminal activity, the police report concluded.

"The investigation found no evidence of harm, injury or violation as the result of a criminal act," said Police Chief Sid Klein.

Police found that the purple "needle cap" that hospice staff found was actually a hollow, open-ended polypropylene "catheter syringe tip adapter" called a Leur.

The adapter is used a connector in a plastic feeding tube setup — such as the one Terri is currently using to receive food and water.

The investigation found that the Schindlers were not responsible for any wrongdoing against their daughter.

"My family is so very thankful to the Clearwater Police Department for doing such a thorough and deliberate job with their investigation and for finally proving that these charges were completely baseless," Bob Schindler said in a statement responding to the police report.

"As horrifying as the least six weeks were, I am grateful to the men and women of the Police Department for undertaking their duties seriously and fairly. We are sorry the taxpayers had to pay for an investigation that turned out to be a total waste of law enforcement resources," Schindler added.

After the marks were found on her arms, Terri was transferred to Mease Hospital in Dunedin, Florida for an examination. Toxicology tests did not find the presence of any foreign substance in Terri’s body.

Clearwater police conducted numerous interviews with family, medical personnel and hospice staff. Neither the Mease Hospital attending physician nor Terri’s personal doctor, Dr. Stanton Tripodis, said the marks represented evidence of an injection.

Though no one can verify what caused the marks on Terri’s arms, police suspect they are merely the result of the lift used to move Terri from a flat position on a bed to a sitting position in a chair.

"The Clearwater Police Department found no evidence of criminal activity, no indication of attempted criminal activity, and no harm done to Mrs. Schiavo," the report concluded.

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