Kennedy suicide tragedy as wife found hanged

Jonathan Gray

THE Kennedy clan is mourning Robert F Kennedy Jr's estranged wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, who had fought drug and alcohol problems and who was found dead at the family home.

An autopsy for the 52-year-old will be held later today.

In a statement issued by Robert Kennedy Jr's chief of staff, the family said Mary Kennedy, an architect, "inspired our family with her kindness, her love, her gentle soul and generous spirit".

The former Mary Richardson, a longtime connection of the Kennedy clan, married Robert Kennedy Jr, a prominent environmental lawyer and the son of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of JFK, in 1994.

The couple had four children, the youngest born in July 2001. Robert Kennedy Jr also has two children from a previous marriage.

Mary Kennedy also was a designer and had overseen the renovation of the couple's home into an environmentally advanced showpiece.

Her family cited her devotion to her children in remembering her.

"We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her," the family said in a statement.

Neighbour Leslie Lampert, who owns the Cafe of Love restaurant a short drive from the Kennedy home, said Mary Kennedy was "at all times just a lovely individual".


She had had trouble with drugs and alcohol and had two high-profile arrests around the time her husband filed for divorce in 2010.

Kennedy was first arrested May 15 of that year on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

At the time of her sentencing, famous family and friends spoke out in support of her.

She was charged later that year with driving under the influence of drugs, but that charge was dismissed in July 2011 when a judge said the evidence showed she didn't know the medications she had taken would impair her ability to drive.

There were indications her troubles started earlier. In 2007, Robert F. Kennedy Jr drove his wife to a hospital for treatment, but she resisted and ran from the car, according to one local newspaper, which cited police records.

"I remember she was acting kind of out of it, kind of crazy," a witness, Rae Kesten, told reporters in 2007.

"She was running into the street and flailing her arms around. He was trying to restrain her. I didn't know if they were fighting or not, but I was concerned."