Mary Kennedy autopsy completed

Mary Richardson Kennedy and her husband, environmental lawyer/activist

Mary Richardson Kennedy and her husband, environmental lawyer/activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are seen in New York City in this file photo. (Feb. 3, 2009) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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An autopsy for Mary Richardson Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert Kennedy Jr. who struggled with substance abuse, is slated to be performed Thursday, officials said.

Mary Kennedy hanged herself in a garage at the Kennedys' home on South Bedford Road in Bedford Wednesday, sources said.

Bedford town police said they found "a deceased individual" inside an outbuilding at 1:36 p.m. The Westchester County medical examiner's office confirmed that it was the second wife of Robert Kennedy Jr., who is the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and the son of former Sen. Robert Kennedy.

Robert Kennedy Jr.'s chief of staff issued a statement Wednesday night that said Mary Kennedy, the mother of four, "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."

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, were struggling with custody issues.

The two younger children, the source said, were staying nearby with their father.

"This is very depressing news, and very sad for her and the children," the source said.

Officers responded to Mary Kennedy's home at 1:36 p.m. after receiving information about a possible death there, according to a police statement, which did not specify how officials learned of her death.

Two unidentified people were seen at the two-story, brick colonial on the wooded estate off Route 172 on Wednesday afternoon. A man came out to speak with police, and a woman pulled up into the gravel driveway in a tan Prius and went into the ivy-dappled house.

Helicopters hovered above. Yellow police crime scene tape was strung near a dog cage adjacent to a four-car garage. An elaborate tree house stood on the front lawn.

Mary Kennedy was in the headlines in 2010, when she was arrested by Bedford police and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. She was headed to a carnival to pick up their children when an officer saw her car jump a curb after being driven erratically, police said at the time.

Mary Kennedy pleaded to a lesser charge of driving while ability impaired in June 2010. It was a chaotic few months for the Bedford woman, with the drunken-driving charge coming just a few days before reports that her husband had filed for divorce.

In May 2010, police were called to the Kennedys' home for a reported domestic dispute involving the couple's children. Mary Kennedy and Robert Kennedy Jr.'s children are between the ages of 9 and 16.

Mary Kennedy was charged later that year with driving under the influence of drugs. That case was dismissed in July 2011 when a judge said the evidence showed that she didn't know the medicine she had taken would impair her ability to drive.

The couple were married on April 15, 1994, on board a research boat on the Hudson River. Robert Kennedy Jr., an attorney, is a staunch environmentalist who has garnered national attention for leading clean-water advocate Hudson Riverkeeper's efforts to restore the Hudson River.

Mary Kennedy was an architect and designer and had overseen the renovation of the couple's home into an environmentally advanced showpiece. She had known the Kennedys for years through her friendship with Robert Kennedy Jr.'s sister, Kerry Kennedy, whom she met at boarding school. She had been Kerry Kennedy's maid of honor at her wedding in 1990.

Robert Kennedy Jr., a Harvard grad, worked briefly as a New York City prosecutor before writing several books, including the 2004 bestseller "Crimes Against Nature."

For the past year, actress Cheryl Hines has been romantically linked to him. She regularly has sent her fans tweets with photos of them attending events, such as the recent Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights fundraiser and the convention of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that he founded to protect rivers and coastal lines around the world.

Hines currently plays suburban trophy wife Dallas Royce on the ABC show "Suburgatory." She has been tweeting recently about being on location for "Pasadena." According to an earlier tweet, she had taken Robert Kennedy Jr.'s aspiring actress daughter Kick Kennedy around Hollywood in hopes of opening some doors.

With The Associated Press

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