Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Terri Schiavo's Supporters Claim Husband Strangled Her; Ask Gov. Jeb Bush To Launch Investigation
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 17, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Theresa "Terri" Schiavo's family members and supporters of her right to live are hoping Florida Governor Jeb Bush will halt a judge's order that her feeding tube be removed and will launch an investigation into allegations that her husband attacked and strangled her 13 years ago.

Supporters claim that evidence from previously sealed records suggest Terri was without oxygen on February 25, 1990, not because of a heart attack, but because she was strangled, presumably by her husband. They point to a bone scan done one year after Terri's collapse that indicated she suffered numerous bone fractures and injuries all over her body, along with a neurologist's October 2002 testimony claiming Terri had a neck injury consistent with that of a strangulation victim.

"If true, this will be a perfect murder . . .with the blessings from the State of Florida," wrote disability rights columnist Maggie Dee in an email letter to Gov. Bush. "Please stay the decision in the appellate court not to intercede on Terri Schiavo's case."

Earlier this week, Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal announced that it would not reverse its June 6 decision which supported Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer's November 2002 order to have Terri's feeding tube removed, according to the wishes of her husband, Michael Schiavo. The appeal court ruled "that there is no hope of a medical cure" and that there is "clear and convincing evidence" that Terri would not want to live in her present condition.

The decision clears the way for Greer to again schedule removal of the feeding tube as early as the end of next week. If that happens Terri would likely die of starvation and dehydration within a couple of weeks.

Many disability rights advocates have been closely watching this case. They point out that, among other things, people are at the highest risk when family members or others start using financial costs as a basis for "pulling the plug" on people considered "severely disabled".

Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, have been fighting in the courts for years to keep their daughter alive. Testimony by some experts, along with video tapes of the family's interactions with Terri, show that she is alert and aware of her surroundings, that she smiles when talked to, responds to music and follows instructions. They argue that Terri would benefit from rehabilitative therapies which could be paid for from what is left of a $700,000 insurance settlement currently in a trust account.

Her parents also believe that Michael wants Terri's life to end because, as her sole heir, he would receive that money only when she dies, and because he wants to marry another woman with whom he fathered a baby girl last year.

They are suspicious that Michael fought hard for Terri to receive proper care until five years ago, when he suddenly announced that he believed her wishes were to not be kept alive.

Supporters are planning a demonstration at the Tampa courthouse on Friday, July 25, at 8:00 a.m.

Readers can send letters to Governor Jeb Bush, or sign an on-line petition.

Related resources:
Urgent Call to Action (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
Video Clips of Terri Schiavo
Terri's Fight (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
Letter to Jeb Bush (
"Terri Schiavo's Right to Life" (Inclusion Daily Express)


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.