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82-year-old woman held for 2 hours after airport scuffle

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    Lila Mae Bryan of Mesquite, Texas. The 82-year-old Texas woman was arrested and jailed for about two hours after she scuffled with a Kansas airport security officer who confiscated an oversized liquid from her carry-on bag.

WICHITA, Kan. >> An 82-year-old Texas woman had forgotten to take her bipolar medication before she scuffled with an airport security officer in Kansas and was arrested and jailed for about two hours, her husband said today.

Silas Bryan, blamed a “little bottle of soap” for touching off the confrontation between his wife, Lila Mae Bryan, of Mesquite, and Transportation Security Administration workers at Eisenhower International Airport in Wichita. The TSA said the problem was that the bottle found Wednesday in her carry-on bag was over the 3.4 ounce limit. The TSA said Friday that the woman has apologized for walking around an X-ray screening belt and assaulting an officer.

TSA spokeswoman Carrie Harmon said the security officer found the bottle during a routine search when the woman’s bag triggered an alarm. An airport police officer who saw the commotion “removed the passenger from the checkpoint,” Harmon said. Airport police authorized the woman’s arrest.

Silas Bryan said they had been to their farm in Kansas and gone to her 65th class reunion. He said they’d had a long drive that included stops to visit relatives and had not gotten much sleep the night before the flight. He said his wife, who is bipolar, had forgotten to take her medication.

“She’s OK. I think it was all unnecessary,” he said, adding that he didn’t see what happened because his wife was behind him in the security line.

The 37-year-old TSA officer was not injured, according to reports. The woman, later identified as Bryan, is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds, according to jail records.

She spent nearly two hours in the jail’s booking area and was photographed and fingerprinted before being freed, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Lt. Lin Dehning told The Wichita Eagle.

After hearing about the incident, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett authorized the woman’s immediate release without bond.

“She was very shaken, embarrassed, and I think the simplest description would be overwhelmed . by the time we got to her,” Bennett told The Eagle on Thursday. “She was clearly having a hard time handling the stress of the situation.”

Bennett said his staff picked up the woman from the jail, took her to his office and gave her something to eat and some coffee before she was reunited with her husband at the courthouse. The airline drove the couple back to the airport and “got them on the next flight back home,” Bennett said.

Jennifer Magana, the city attorney, told The Associated Press that the woman was cited by police for misdemeanor battery but that a decision hadn’t been made on whether to prosecute. Messages from The Associated Press seeking additional information from airport police were not immediately returned. A spokesman in Bennett’s office said he was out of the office today.

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