Updated, Noon, Thursday
The Westchester County Medical Examiner's office released a statement Thursday afternoon saying Mary Kennedy's cause of death was asphyxiation due to hanging.
Updated, 9 a.m. Thursday
The New York Times is reporting that Kennedy's body was found hanging in a barn behind their home and that authorities who responded to the scene had attempted to cut her down and revive her. Kennedy apparently left a note.
Authorities have not released a cause of death and an autopsy is scheduled for this morning.
Mary Kennedy, the 52-year-old estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was found dead in her Bedford home Wednesday.
The Kennedy, Jr. family released a statement to the press Wednesday evening:
"Mary inspired our family with her kindness, her love, her gentle soul and generous spirit. Mary was a genius at friendship, a tremendously gifted architect and a pioneer and relentless advocate of green design who enhanced her cutting edge, energy efficient creations with exquisite taste and style. She applied her talent, energy and passion which were both brilliant and abundant, to advocacy for treatment and finding a cure for food allergies and asthma. She was an instrumental co-founder and driving force of the Food Allergy Initiative to which contributions may be made in her name."
The Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed her death to Patch. They will be conducting an autopsy Thursday morning to determine the cause.
Bedford police responded to the Kennedy residence at 326 South Bedford Road at 1:36 p.m. to investigate what they described as an "unattended death" discovered in an out-building on the property. They did not say what prompted them to go there.
Bedford resident Peter Michaelis, photographer and former journalist, shared personal photos with Patch of Kennedy, whom he had known as a teenager growing up in Washington, D.C. and later, as a fellow student at Brown University.
"I've lost a dear friend," he said. "She was a wonderful person and a wonderful mother—she was always there for you." Michaelis, who also photographed her said he saw her in recent weeks and knew she was having a "rough time," but there was no indication something like this could happen. He said he was shocked and saddened by her death.
The Kennedys were married in 1994; Robert Kennedy, Jr. filed for divorce in May 2010. The couple had four children together.
That news of their split two years ago followed a string of negative reports about the Kennedy family.
On May 15, 2010, after police said she arrived at the St. Patrick's Carnival and drove up onto a curb. She failed field sobriety tests at the scene and was charged with DWI but The charges were reduced to a violation and her driver's license was briefly suspended.
Police records also showed two visits to the Kennedy home in the month prior to the DWI arrests. The first was a 911 call after which Mary Kennedy reported that she had an argument with family members, leading police officers to file state domestic incident report; the second call was reportedly over a squabble between the Kennedy children. No further investigation followed either of the incidents.
Later that summer, Kennedy was arrested and charged after she was allegedly caught speeding and driving under the influence of prescription drugs on the Taconic State Parkway. In addition to the DWAI charge, police ticketed Kennedy for speeding. In September 2010, to charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs in Pleasant Valley town court.
The downward spiral followed a harmonious picture of the couple that was presented in April 2010, to the media. Mary Kennedy was an architect who said she was responsible for the energy efficient home's design.
Robert Kennedy, Jr. divorced his previous wife, Emily Ruth Black, in 1994.
News of Mary Kennedy's death prompted the imediate response of news organizations large and small to the driveway leading to the brick colonial residence off of Route 172. Around 6 p.m., Bedford police asked everyone to leave. Media reassembled at the intersection of the driveway and Route 172.