Mary R. Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was found dead Wednesday at the family’s home in Bedford, N.Y. She was 52.
Kennedy’s death was confirmed in a statement from her family, who did not comment on the circumstances. Two people with knowledge of the matter said that Kennedy’s body was found hanging, and one of them said that it was discovered in a barn behind the house and that she had left a note. The other person said that the authorities who responded to the scene had cut her down and tried to revive her.
The Bedford Police Department said only that it had investigated a “possible unattended death” in an outbuilding at the home on Wednesday afternoon.
Kennedy’s lawyer, Kerry Lawrence, would not say whether foul play was suspected. Kieran O’Leary, a spokesman for Westchester County, said an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday morning.
Born Mary Richardson, Kennedy joined one of America’s foremost political families in 1994, in a marriage ceremony aboard a boat on the Hudson River, near Stony Point, N.Y. At the time, she was an architectural designer at Parish-Hadley Associates in New York.
The couple had four children together; Robert Kennedy had two from a previous marriage.
Although news outlets have reported that Mary Kennedy and her husband had become estranged and that he filed for divorce in 2010, her lawyer said Wednesday that they were not divorced. In 2010, Kennedy was arrested twice — once on a charge of driving while intoxicated, and later on a charge of driving under the influence of prescription medication.
The first charge was reduced to a violation, Lawrence said; Kennedy was ordered to undergo alcohol treatment and her license was suspended for 90 days. The prescription drug charges were dismissed, Lawrence said.
Kennedy’s family, in a statement on Wednesday, recalled her “radiant and creative spirit” and the love she had for her children, “without reservation.”
A statement released by Robert Kennedy’s family praised her as a “genius at friendship, a tremendously gifted architect and a pioneer and relentless advocate of green design.” She had advocated treatment and research in the study of food allergies and asthma, the statement said, and was one of the founders of the Food Allergy Initiative, which raises money for food allergy research.
Kennedy’s death is another in a series of personal tragedies for the family. Her husband was the third of 11 children born to Ethel Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968.
Robert Kennedy arrived at the property in Bedford around 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, appearing to grimace as he entered the home. A prominent environmental lawyer, Kennedy is the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance.