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Fla. Ends Schiavo Inquiry

Gov. Jeb Bush accepts the state attorney's finding of no foul play in 911 call 15 years ago.

July 08, 2005|From Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's state attorney said there was no evidence Terri Schiavo's collapse 15 years ago involved criminal activity, and Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday declared an end to the state's inquiry.

Bush had asked State Attorney Bernie McCabe to investigate Schiavo's case after her autopsy last month. He said he now considered the state's involvement with the matter finished.

"Based on your conclusions, I will follow your recommendation that the inquiry by the state be closed," Bush said in a two-sentence letter.

In asking McCabe to look again into what put Schiavo in a persistent vegetative state, Bush had cited an alleged gap between when Schiavo's husband Michael found her and when he called 911.

McCabe found that although such discrepancies might exist in the record, Michael Schiavo's statements that he called 911 immediately had been consistent.

"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 and thus not material to any potential investigation," McCabe wrote in a letter to Bush accompanying his report.

The report, dated June 30, was released Thursday.

The bitter right-to-die case involved the courts, Congress and the White House.

Terri Schiavo died March 31 from dehydration after her feeding tube was disconnected despite efforts by Bush, her parents and some lawmakers to keep her alive.

Michael Schiavo had fought to have the tube disconnected, saying his wife wouldn't have wanted to remain in such a state.

The autopsy left unanswered the question of why Terri Schiavo's heart temporarily stopped, cutting off oxygen to her brain. A medical examiner was unable to determine with reasonable certainty a "manner of death."

McCabe said there must be some fact or evidence indicating a criminal act caused the death to open a full homicide investigation.

He said the review revealed none.

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