Officials: RFK Jr.'s estranged wife found dead

Mary Richardson Kennedy seen outside her Bedford home Mary Richardson Kennedy seen outside her Bedford home in this 2005 photo provided by Peter Michaelis. Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., had fought drug and alcohol problems. Kennedy, 52, was found dead at her home Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Photo Credit: AP

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BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s estranged wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, who had fought drug and alcohol problems, was found dead, an apparent suicide, Wednesday in her home, officials said.

An autopsy for the 52-year-old was scheduled for Thursday. Bedford town police said the body was discovered inside an outbuilding at the home on South Bedford Road.

Officers responded at 1:36 p.m. after receiving information about a possible death there. A police investigator at the Westchester medical examiner's office declined to answer questions about how Mary Kennedy died.

In a statement issued by Robert Kennedy Jr.'s chief of staff, the family described Mary Kennedy as "a genius at friendship."

"Mary inspired our family with her kindness, her love, her gentle soul and generous spirit," the family said.

The former Mary Richardson married Robert Kennedy Jr., a prominent environmental lawyer and the son of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, in 1994. Mary Kennedy was an architect and designer and had overseen the renovation of the couple's home into an environmentally advanced showpiece.

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Robert Kennedy Jr., 58, filed for divorce from Mary Kennedy in 2010 and the couple were living separately, said a source who knew Mary Kennedy well, noting that the pair, who had four children between the ages of 9 and 16, were struggling with custody issues.

Mary Kennedy was charged with drunken driving in Bedford in 2010. The case was dismissed in July 2011 when a judge said the evidence showed she didn't know medicine she had taken would impair her ability to drive. With AP

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