Estranged former wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr found dead in her home in suburban New York

WASHINGTON — Mary Kennedy, the estranged and troubled former wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was found dead Wednesday at her suburban home north of New York City, her attorney confirmed.

The death was the latest tragic episode for the Kennedy clan, which has been beset with untimely deaths and highly public personal woes in its storied history.

She was the second wife of Robert Kennedy Jr., the son of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated while running for president in 1968. He is also the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who was gunned down in 1963 in Dallas.

Police responded to a home in a leafy section of South Bedford Road at 1:36 p.m., according to a statement released by the Bedford Police Department. The cause of death was under investigation, and an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.


“Responding officers confirm that deceased individual had been located inside an out building at that property,’’ the statement said.

Police did not identify Kennedy in its release, but her attorney Kerry Lawrence, who had represented her in a drunken-driving case, confirmed her death in a statement released to the media. He said he did not know the cause of her death. She was 52 and had four children with Kennedy.

Her family released a statement through Lawrence, saying that she was a devoted mother to her four children.

‘‘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 issued by Lawrence. ‘‘Our heart goes out to her children who she loved without reservation.’’

Police kept media away from the Kennedy home, a red brick mansion with a columned porch set in a heavily wooded lot.

Neighbor 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 was community oriented,’’ Lampert said. ‘‘She was always kind in our presence.’’

Another neighbor, Kim Fraioli, a trauma therapist who lives a few houses down from the Kennedys, said the family was private.


‘‘We left them alone,’’ Fraioli. ‘‘We didn’t have any interaction. I think it’s a tragedy. It’s very sad for their family and the surviving children. My heart goes out to the family.’’

The former Mary Richardson was an architect and designer, and was well known to the Kennedy family before she and Robert Jr. married. She and her former husband’s sister, Kerry Kennedy, met at boarding school and she was her schoolmate’s maid of honor in 1990.

Just weeks after Robert Kennedy Jr. divorced his first wife in 1994, he and Mary married on a ship on the Hudson River.

The marriage ended tumultuously 16 years later, and news accounts suggested she had bouts with alcohol and drugs — a battle well known to her husband, who spoke openly about his own substance abuse problems.

In 1984, he pleaded guilty to heroin possession and said he was born an alcoholic.

In August 2010, Mary Kennedy was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, a month before she pleaded guilty to drunken driving and had her driver’s license suspended, according to news reports.

At the time of her sentencing, family and friends were supportive.

Her mother-in-law, Ethel Kennedy, wrote that she ‘‘is a caring, nourishing mother who has nursed her four children through lifelong bouts of debilitating allergies,’’ according to an account in Westchester’s The Journal News at the time.

Just days before Mary Kennedy’s arrest in August 2010, Robert Kennedy filed for divorce. Friends told the New York Post that he grew tired of his wife’s drinking and “other problems,’’ which they said had grown worse.


In the week before Mary Kennedy’s August 2010 arrest, Bedford police responded to the Kennedy home twice.

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