TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush has declared an end to the state's inquiry into Terri Schiavo's collapse 15 years ago, after Florida's state attorney said there was no evidence that criminal activity was involved.
Bush had asked State Attorney Bernie McCabe to investigate Schiavo's case after her autopsy last month. He said he now considers 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 how Schiavo slipped into a persistent vegetative state, Bush had cited an alleged gap between when Schiavo's husband Michael found her and when he called 911. The governor had said the issue remained unsettled.
McCabe said, however, that while such discrepancies may exist in the record, 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," McCabe wrote in a letter to Bush accompanying his report.
The report was dated June 30, but not released until Thursday.
The bitter right-to-die case engulfed the courts, Congress and White House, and divided the country.
Terri Schiavo died March 31 from dehydration after her feeding tube was disconnected despite efforts by Bush, her parents and some state national lawmakers to keep her alive.
Michael Schiavo had fought to have the tube disconnected, saying his wife wouldn't have wanted to be kept alive artificially.
The autopsy left unanswered the question of why Terri Schiavo's temporarily heart 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.
He added that the most likely cause of Schiavo's collapse remains the one already advanced - an eating disorder.
David Gibbs, attorney for Schiavo's parents, said the report appeared rushed, noting that Bob and Mary Schindler were not interviewed by the state attorney's office. "We had thought they would meet with the family," he said.
Michael Schiavo's attorney deferred comment until he had a chance to fully review the report.