Prosecutor: Terri Schiavo’s Husband Consistent in 911 Delay Story

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Prosecutor: Terri Schiavo’s Husband Consistent in 911 Delay Story Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 8, 2005

Clearwater, FL ( — A local prosecutor has looked into why Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband waited over an hour to call 911 after he found Terri collapsed on the floor of their home in 1990. State Attorney Bernie McCabe says Michael Schiavo did not act criminally in the matter.

Michael called paramedics at 5:40 a.m. and reported Terri collapsed. During a 1992 medical malpractice suit which awarded Michael $1.5 million, he claimed he discovered Terri lying face down on the floor at 5:00 a.m. Later, in a 2003 interview on CNN’s "Larry King Live," Michael says he found Terri at 4:30 a.m.

Governor Jeb Bush asked McCabe to find out the reason for the discrepancy and determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing.

McCabe reported to Bush that, while some discrepancies existed in the records, he believes Michael called authorities promptly and was consistent in his telling of what happened.

"This consistency, coupled with the varying recollections of the precise time offered by other interested parties, lead me to the conclusion that such discrepancies are not indicative of criminal activity," McCabe told Bush in a letter with his report.

McCabe also indicated that not facts or evidence existed to warrant a homicide investigation.

In a short letter to McCabe, Bush agreed to close the investigation.

"Based on your conclusions, I will follow your recommendation that the inquiry by the state be closed,” the governor said.

David Gibbs, the lead attorney for Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, told the Associated Press he believes McCabe rushed the report, noting that he never interviewed the Schindlers about what happened the day before or the day of the collapse.

"We had thought they would meet with the family," he said.

Attorneys Doug Crow and Bob Lewis from McCabe’s office participated in the inquiry. In their report they indicated that they had no "ability to resolve or ameliorate this long-standing dispute" between Michael and the Schindler family.

Regarding a determination as to what caused Terri’s collapse and whether Michael engaged in any criminal actions to cause it, "It is obvious to us that there is no possibility of proving that anyone’s criminal act was responsible for Mrs. Schiavo’s collapse," they said.

George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael’s lawyer, told the Orlando Sentinel Thursday night that he had not yet had a chance to discuss the findings with Michael.

He said McCabe’s investigation "completely exonerates Mr. Schiavo" and added that the "state’s involvement should have ended a long time ago."

There were no witnesses in the home at the time of Terri’s collapse and Michael claims there was no delay in calling 911.

"I have consistently said over the years that I didn’t wait but ‘ran’ to call 911 after Terri collapsed," Michael said in a statement made public last week.

Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother, told he doubts that and wonders why investigators didn’t look into the discrepancy back in 1990.

"Because she didn’t die, it wasn’t worth looking into," Schindler told "There were no thorough investigations at all at that time. Everyone assumed there was no foul play."

"I’d like to see Michael answer some questions about her collapse, but he never will unless there is an investigation," he said.

Terri died on March 31 after a painful thirteen day starvation and dehydration death.

Related web sites:
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