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Governor Bush gives up pursuit of Schiavo case

July 8, 2005

By Michael Peltier

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) – Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has
dropped his pursuit of an investigation into the 1990 collapse
of Terri Schiavo after a prosecutor said there was no
indication of foul play that led to her irrevocable brain
damage.

Bush, who worked hard to keep Schiavo on a feeding tube
before her March 31 death, had ordered the probe after an
autopsy confirmed she had been in the persistent vegetative
state.

Gov. Bush, brother of President Bush and a devout Catholic
convert, said there were indications of a 40- to 70-minute gap
between the time Michael Schiavo discovered his wife after she
collapsed 15 years ago and the time he called for medical
assistance.

But Pinellas County State Attorney Bernie McCabe, who
conducted the probe, wrote Bush on June 30 that there were
explanations “far more likely and logical than any involving
criminal wrongdoing” surrounding Schiavo’s collapse.

In a reply to McCabe dated July 7, Bush said he would stop
the investigation. “Based on your conclusions, I will follow
your recommendation that the inquiry by the state be closed,”
Bush wrote. The letter was distributed on Friday.

Schiavo died of dehydration 13 days after her feeding tube
was removed. She was 41.

Her death came after years of legal battles between Michael
Schiavo and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, over whether
to remove the sustenance that was keeping her alive.

The Schindlers’ cause was joined by the Vatican and by
conservative U.S. politicians, anti-abortion campaigners and
pro-life groups.

The autopsy conducted after Schiavo’s death did not find
what caused her heart to stop and starve her brain of oxygen.
At the time of her death, her brain was half the size of a
normal brain.

McCabe based his recommendations to Gov. Bush on a report
by investigators that found that there was no indication of
culpability and that Michael Schiavo’s actions following her
collapse appeared consistent with a distraught spouse trying to
save his wife’s life.

“Without proof of criminal agency, there can be no hope of
prosecution,” the investigators concluded.




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