Mary Jo and Teddy, sitting in a tree…

When Ted Kennedy passed away, I re-investigated the Chappaquidick death of Mary Jo Kopechne here. And I came across a quotation that has stuck with me: “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”

 Chappaquiddick_bridge with guardrail now from Wiki

Photo of bridge with new guard rail from Wikipedia.

Some attribute it to John Kennedy, but I read that the Kennedy patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, said this to Eunice Kennedy, who passed away just a few weeks before Ted. That would certainly explain Eunice Kennedy’s, and some of the other Kennedys’ good works. In any case, maybe the real ending of that quote for the Kennedys is ” …much is forgiven.” At least in our suck-up courts, who have never turned down a rich family, in spite of suspicious death, rape, and more.

Daryl Cagle had a good post on Ted Kennedy, along with his cartoon about the health plan. (He also discusses how to draw a warthog there.) The comments kind of skewed over (towards the dramatic drowning), as is normal in a healthy blog, and when I pointed out my own investigation of the Chappaquidick accident, Daryl wrote there:

Hi Donna,
Read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C…..k_incident
Your comments don’t jive with the Chappaquiddick facts as I know them …  

My reply to him:

Daryl, it would never occur to me to take the Wiki version as a real investigation. I love how they call  it the “Chappaquidick incident” as a euphemism for the “Mary Jo death and drowning with Ted Kennedy somehow involved,” however!
The timeline they have is seriously fouled up in Wiki. How could you believe that after Ted and his buds tried to jump in the water and save Mary Jo, in the early morning hours, he decided to go for a swim – across a treacherous riptide channel in the middle of the night!!

The tide and current is so strong that even the next day, when the water was only 6′ deep, the Sheriff still couldn’t open the door. My brother just told me that those doors had vacuum door locks that work under water. But the current was too strong. And yet Ted K just swam across?

And this was the whole point that made me investigate further: Kopechne told no one that she was leaving with Kennedy, and left her purse and hotel key at the party. HELLO. This is not a normal woman. No purse, and no key for her hotel room? Right. The blood in her face was a new detail for me, but I guess that could have been just the accident. Still, more mystery.

1960's purse

Purse photo from: purse people.

Another commenter wrote:

Yeah, I don’t know Donna, that’s borderline conspiracy theory stuff to me. To change the players in the car like that after a full inquest was done and those at the party testified as to who was still at the house, etc…too much of a stretch for me.

More plausible, methinks, is that Mary Jo was enamored of Teddy and the Kennedy family as a whole and entertained a bit of an attraction to him even though he was married (her family claimed that politics “was her life” and she had spent all those years working only for Kennedy’s and adored them; her short stint on McGoverns campaign was an unhappy one and she was said to have stated that it just wasn’t the same without Bobby). Even though she was said to be a nice girl who rarely even drank, I think there was probably a flirty thing going on between them that night and they decided to go for a ride, make-out session, whatever. This would account for why she didn’t carry her purse or her hotel key -they weren’t actually leaving for the night – just for a good ol snog in the car. This makes sense because supposedly right around the time this accident actually happened, Officer Look saw this black car with 2 people in it pulled over in the cemetery and he thought it strange (they just about positively confirmed by the license, make and model, that it was Teddy’s car). So the officer pulled over himself and started to walk towards them to ask if they needed help (I guess his generation never heard of young couples going “parking” in a car at night). When the occupants of the car spotted him, they quickly sped off out of the cemetery and right “onto Dyke road”. I believe the accident happened within minutes of this incident because the place where they were spotted in the cemetery, was literally right up the road (less than a mile?) from where they went off. Because Teddy was a married man and a senator and thus could not afford to be caught in an intimate situation with another woman, I have a hunch that he was frazzled and worried that the officer might hop in his car and pursue them and recognize him. This coupled with the alcohol he had consumed, probably caused him to be going a little too fast on a road he was completely unfamiliar with. In the short span of speeding out of the cemetery and off down Dyke road, by the time he realized he was dead-ending into a narrow bridge, it was just too late and he ran right into the water beside the bridge.

As for his delay in reporting it all, yeah, I’d say,”Houston, we have a problem”. He was married, he was a Senator and he knew he wanted to run for President – no doubt he was completely panicked. That said, 2 of his friends testified at the inquest that after several diving attempts by himself, he came and got them and they went back and took turns diving for her but they could not find her to get her out. I’m sure it was very hard without proper equipment, to go down and get in thru a window, find a body, pull it out of the car and get back up in time to take your next breath – all in the pitch dark – and while you’re intoxicated. It is highly unlikely that this woman lived down there in an air bubble for 4 hours, like someone stated earlier…even 2 or 1 hour is ridiculsou. If she had been given even 25 minutes more of life I think she would have held her breath for small moments and ventured out to feel for the openings/windows in the car, knowing her luck would not last forever. As for the blood on her face and dress – that windshield is pretty badly bashed in. Since he broke at the last minute and the car suddenly went down nose first and then flipped over, I’d say she most definitely hit the windshield. As for her being in the back seat from any way other than her body just landing there after the car flopped over and settled, I suppose that it could be possible that after they were spotted by the officer, she might have agreed to hide in the back seat just in case the officer did follow and stop them. Still, she could have just landed there from the impact.

And that’s my 2 cents on Chappaquiddick.

chappaquiddick-kennedy car in water

Car in water photo from: writewingpolitics.

He is restating some of the facts I discovered earlier, and his theory is the usual one: Ted Kennedy was fooling around, got drunk, and Mary Jo died in the accident.

Okay, but that doesn’t explain the purse mixup. Rosemary Keogh’s purse WAS found in the car, and Mary Jo had none! What is with all these women losing their purses? Unless…Rosemary was escaping for her life out the window. Both Time and the NY Times confirmed Rosemary’s purse was in the car. Why did they ignore this HUGE clue?! Look, I found a pic of Rosemary Keough with her purse at the funeral! http://www.life.com/image/50396374 (Life won’t let me copy the picture.)

Rosemary, come on, what really happened that night?