Autopsy: Mary R. Kennedy died of asphyxiation from hanging


Mary Richardson Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert Kennedy Jr. who had struggled with alcohol and drugs, died of asphyxiation due to hanging, it was announced Thursday.

The body of the 52-year-old was found in a building at her home in Bedford, N.Y., on Wednesday. An autopsy was performed Thursday morning by a Westchester County medical examiner.

Officials on Thursday morning released a two-sentence statement, sent by email to reporters:


“The Westchester County Medical Examiner’s office today did an autopsy on the body of Mary Richardson Kennedy,” the statement said. “The cause of death was put at asphyxiation due to hanging.”

The results of toxicology tests could take months to determine, said Donna Greene, a spokeswoman for county executive Robert P. Astorino, in a phone interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Police went to Kennedy’s home on South Bedford Road about 1:36 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a possible unattended death, officials said in a police statement.

The hanging was previously reported by the New York Times, which cited two people with knowledge of the matter. The New York Daily News, citing unidentified people, reported that Kennedy committed suicide.

“We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her,” her family said in a statement released by Kerry Lawrence, her attorney. “Our heart goes out to her children, who she loved without reservation.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has built a reputation as a noted environmental activist, is the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. His father, also Robert F. Kennedy, was a U.S. attorney general and later a U.S. senator from New York; he was a Democratic presidential candidate when he was shot in Los Angeles in 1968.


Mary Kennedy, a Kennedy family friend, was an architect and designer. She was Robert Kennedy’s second wife; they have four children.


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