Mary Jo Kopechne

Mary Jo Kopechne

Mary Jo Kopechne, the daughter of an insurance salesman, was born in the village of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, on 26th July 1940. After graduating from Caldwell College for Women in New Jersey, she moved to Washington where she worked as a secretary for George Smathers and Robert Kennedy. During this time she shared an apartment with Nancy Carole Tyler, who worked for Bobby Baker.

On 17th July, 1969, Kopechne joined several other women who had worked for the Kennedy family at the Edgartown Regatta. She stayed at the Katama Shores Motor Inn on the southern tip of Martha's Vineyard. The following day the women travelled across to Chappaquiddick Island. They were joined by Edward Kennedy and that night they held a party at Lawrence Cottage. At the party was Kennedy, Kopechne, Susan Tannenbaum, Maryellen Lyons, Ann Lyons, Rosemary Keough, Esther Newburgh, Joe Gargan, Paul Markham, Charles Tretter, Raymond La Rosa and John Crimmins.

Kopechne and Edward Kennedy left the party at 11.15pm. Kennedy had offered to take Kopechne back to her hotel. He later explained what happened: "I was unfamiliar with the road and turned onto Dyke Road instead of bearing left on Main Street. After proceeding for approximately a half mile on Dyke Road I descended a hill and came upon a narrow bridge. The car went off the side of the bridge.... The car turned over and sank into the water and landed with the roof resting on the bottom. I attempted to open the door and window of the car but have no recollection of how I got out of the car. I came to the surface and then repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car. I was unsuccessful in the attempt."

Instead of reporting the accident Edward Kennedy returned to the party. According to a statement issued by Kennedy on 25th July, 1969: "instead of looking directly for a telephone number after lying exhausted in the grass for an undetermined time, walked back to the cottage where the party was being held and requested the help of two friends, my cousin Joseph Gargan and Paul Markham, and directed them to return immediately to the scene with me - this was some time after midnight - in order to undertake a new effort to dive."

When this effort to rescue Kopechne ended in failure, Kennedy decided to return to his hotel. As the ferry had shut down for the night Kennedy, swam back to Edgartown. It was not until the following morning that Kennedy reported the accident to the police. By this time the police had found Mary Jo Kopechne's body in Kennedy's car.

Edward Kennedy was found guilty of leaving the scene of the accident and received a suspended two-month jail term and one-year driving ban. That night he appeared on television to explain what had happened. He explained: "My conduct and conversations during the next several hours to the extent that I can remember them make no sense to me at all. Although my doctors informed me that I suffered a cerebral concussion as well as shock, I do not seek to escape responsibility for my actions by placing the blame either on the physical, emotional trauma brought on by the accident or on anyone else. I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately."

At the inquest Judge James Boyle raised doubts about Kennedy's testimony. He pointed out that as Kennedy had a good knowledge of Chappaquiddick Island he could not understand how he managed to drive down Dyke Road by mistake. For example, on the day of the accident, Kennedy had twice had driven on Dyke Road to go to the beach for a swim. To get to Dyke Road involved a 90-degree turn off a metalled road onto the rough, bumpy dirt-track.

An investigation at the scene of the accident by Raymond R. McHenry, suggested that Kennedy approached the bridge at an estimated 34 miles (55 kilometres) per hour. At around 5 metres (17 feet) from the bridge, Kennedy braked violently. This locked the front wheels. According to McHenry: "The car skidded 5 metres (17 feet) along the road, 8 metres (25 feet) up the humpback bridge, jumped a 14 centimetre barrier, somersaulted through the air for about 10 metres (35 feet) into the water and landed upside-down."

Investigators found it difficult to understand why he was crossing Dyke Bridge when he said he was attempting to reach Edgartown which was in the opposite direction. They also could not understand why he was driving so fast on this unlit, uneven, road. They also could not work out how Kennedy escaped from the car. When it was recovered from the water all the doors were locked. Three of the windows were either open or smashed in. If Kennedy, a large-framed 6 foot 2 inches tall man could manage to get out of the car, why was it impossible for Mary Jo Kopechne, a slender 5 foot 2 inches tall, not do the same?

Local experts could not understand why Kennedy (and later, Markham and Gargan) could not rescue Kopechne from the car. It also surprised investigators that Kennedy did not seek help from Pierre Malm, who only lived 135 metres from the bridge. At the inquest Kennedy was unable to answer this question.

There were also doubts about the way Kopechne died. Dr. Donald Mills of Edgartown, wrote on the death certificate: "death by drowning". However, Gene Frieh, the undertaker, told reporters that death "was due to suffocation rather than drowning". John Farrar, the diver who removed Kopechne from the car, claimed she was "too buoyant to be full of water". It is assumed that she died from drowning, although her parents filed a petition preventing an autopsy.

Other questions were asked about Kennedy's decision to swim back to Edgartown. The 150 metre channel had strong currents and only the strongest of swimmers would have been able to make the journey safely. Also no one saw Kennedy arrive back at the Shiretown Inn in wet clothes. Ross Richards, who had a conversation with Kennedy the following morning at the hotel described him as casual and at ease.

Kennedy did not inform the police of the accident while he was at the hotel. Instead at 9am he joined Gargan and Markham on the ferry back to Chappaquiddick Island. Steve Ewing, the ferry operator, reported Kennedy in a jovial mood. It was only when Kennedy reached the island that he phoned the authorities about the accident that had taken place the previous night.

Dr. Robert Watt, Kennedy's family doctor, explained his patient's strange behaviour by claiming he was in a state of shock and confusion and "possible concussion."

It was reported in The New Times magazine that Joseph Kopechne said that he and his wife rejected an autopsy because "we were led to believe that the autopsy was primarily to find out if my daughter was pregnant."

Primary Sources

(1) Statement issued by Edward Kennedy on 18th July, 1969.

On July 18, 1969, at approximately 11.15 on Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard, I was driving my car on Main Street on my way to get the ferry back to Edgartown.

I was unfamiliar with the road and turned onto Dyke Road instead of bearing left on Main Street. After proceeding for approximately a half mile on Dyke Road I descended a hill and came upon a narrow bridge. The car went off the side of the bridge.

There was one passenger with me, Miss Kopechne, a former secretary of my brother Robert Kennedy. The car turned over and sank into the water and landed with the roof resting on the bottom. I attempted to open the door and window of the car but have no recollection of how I got out of the car. I came to the surface and then repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car. I was unsuccessful in the attempt. I was exhausted and in a state of shock. I recall walking back to where my friends were eating. There was a car parked in front of the cottage and I climbed into the back seat. I then asked for someone to bring me back to Edgartown. I remember walking around for a period of time and then going back to my hotel room. When I fully realized what had happened this morning, I immediately contacted the police.

(2) John Simkin, Chappaquiddick and the Assassination of JFK (29th August, 2009)

Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne left the Lawrence Cottage at around 11.15 p.m. on 18th July, 1969. Kennedy claimed that he was giving her a lift back to her hotel. The last ferry was at 12.00. The party only had two cars. The six women at the party had been told that they would be taken back to their hotels via that ferry.

Although he had been on the island many times Kennedy took the wrong turning. Locals claimed this was almost impossible to do. To make this wrong turn at this point the driver had to ignore: (1) A directional arrow of luminized glass pointing to the left; (2) The banking of the pavement to accommodate the sharp curve; (3) The white line down the centre of the road. (4) The fact that he was now driving on an unpaved road.

According to Kennedy he had the accident on Dike Bridge at 11.30. He made several attempts to rescue Mary Jo. Although there were three houses with lights on close to where the accident happened. Kennedy walked back to Lawrence Cottage. This was a 1.2 mile walk that took approximately 23 minutes. The route involved passing the Chappaquiddick Fire Station. The station was unlocked and included an alarm. The Fire Captain (Foster Silva) lived close by and would have been there within 3 minutes. According to Silva once sounded "half the people living on the island would have turned up within 15 minutes".

Kennedy claimed he got back at the cottage at 12.20 a.m. He got the time from the Valiant car while he sat in the back seat discussing the problem with his two friends, Joe Gargan and Paul Markham. This was a lie. It was later discovered that the Valiant car (rented for the weekend) did not have a clock.

According to their testimony Kennedy, Gargan and Markham then went back to the scene of the accident and tried to get Mary Jo out of the car. After 45 minutes they accepted defeat. Kennedy, told the men he was going to report the accident once back in Edgartown. He then swam back as he thought the last ferry had gone. This was a risky thing to do and as Kennedy admitted afterwards, he nearly drowned getting to his hotel.

Gargan and Markham claimed they got back to the cottage at around 2.15 a.m. If so, this leaves an hour accounted for. This point was not explored at the inquest.

Jared Grant operated the Chappaquiddick Ferry. The last ferry usually went at midnight. However, that night his last run was 12.45 a.m. He did not actually close the ferry until 1.20 a.m. He later testified that he saw several boats "running back and forth" between the island and Edgartown. During this period he was never approached by Kennedy, Gargan or Markham.

That night Kennedy spoke to the room clerk at the Shiretown Inn at 2.30 a.m. According to Gargan this was to establish an alibi. At this stage he intended to claim he had not been driving the car.

Records show that Kennedy did not make any phone calls from the hotel. All his close political advisers confirm they did not receive calls from Kennedy that night. If they had, they would have told him to report the accident straight away. Kennedy made his first call (to Helga Wagner) a 8 a.m. the next morning.

Two friends of Kennedy, Ross Richards and Stan Moore, met with him in his hotel just before 8 o'clock. They reported that he appeared to be acting in a relaxed way and did not appear to be under any stress. Soon afterwards, Paul Markham and Joe Gargan arrived at the hotel. According to Richards they were "soaking wet". It was while talking to Markham and Gargan that Kennedy became visibly upset.

Lieutenant George Killen, who interviewed all those people who had contact with Kennedy that morning in the hotel, became convinced that it was at this stage that Kennedy first discovered that Mary Jo Kopechne was dead. Richards also agreed with this analysis.

Kennedy returned to the island on the ferry at 9.50 the following morning. It was only once back on the island that he reported the accident.

John Farrar, a scuba diver, got the Mary Jo's body out of the car. He believed that she found an air-pocket in the car and probably lived for about an hour. This view was supported by the medical examination of the body. The doctor claimed she had died of suffocation rather than from drowning.

Farrar found it difficult to believe that Kennedy would have been able to get out of the car once it went into the water. Others at the crime scene took a similar view. Lieutenant Bernie Flynn said: "Ted Kennedy wasn't in the car when it went off the bridge. He would never have gotten out alive."

There is one major problem with these timings. At about 12.45 Kennedy's stationary car was seen at the intersection on Dike Road near the bridge by Christopher ‘Huck' Look, deputy sheriff and part-time police officer. Look claims that a man was driving and that two other people were in the car. Look approached the car on foot but when the driver saw his police uniform the car then sped off down Dike Road . The car had a Massachusetts registration letter L. It also had a 7 at the beginning and at the end. Only eight other cars of this type had this number plate. They were all later checked out. Kennedy's car was the only one with that number plate that was on the island that night.

Christopher ‘Huck' Look appears to be a convincing witness. There seems to be no reason why he should lie about what he saw on the morning of the 19th July, 1969.

Therefore we have the situation where Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne left the Lawrence Cottage at around 11.15 p.m. For some reason Kennedy returns to the cottage at 12.20 a.m. However, it is not to report the accident as at this stage the car has not yet had the accident on Dike Bridge .

Lieutenant George Killen, who investigated the case, was convinced that Kennedy had intended to have sex with Mary Jo in the car. He was drunk (evidence suppressed in court showed that Kennedy had consumed a great deal of alcohol that day). When Look approached Kennedy's car, he feared he would be arrested. Therefore he sped off into the darkness. Afraid that Look would catch him up he gets out of the car and persuades Mary Jo to drive off (she herself has consumed a fair amount of alcohol. Kennedy then walks back to the cottage. When Mary Jo does not return Kennedy becomes convinced she has had an accident. Kennedy then goes back to his hotel leaving Markham and Gargan to search for Mary Jo. It is not until the next morning they discover what has happened. They then go to Kennedy's hotel to tell him the news. This fits Killen idea that Kennedy did not know about the accident until the morning meeting with Markham and Gargan.

Killen's theory fits all the established facts in the case. However, it does not explain Kennedy's behaviour. Once he discovered that Mary Jo was dead, it would make far more sense to tell the truth. This story was more politically acceptable than the "leaving the scene of the accident" story. I therefore reject Killen's theory.

(3) Report by Detective Bernie Flynn (18th July, 1969)

I figure, we've got a drunk driver, Ted Kennedy. He's with this girl, and he has it in his mind to go down to the beach and make love to her. He's probably driving too fast and he misses the curve and goes into Cemetery Road. He's backing up when he sees this guy in uniform coming toward him. That's panic for the average driver who's been drinking; but here's a United States Senator about to get tagged for driving under. He doesn't want to get caught with a girl in his car, on a deserted road late at night, with no license and driving drunk on top of it. In his mind, the most important thing is to get away from the situation.

He doesn't wait around. He takes off down the road. He's probably looking in the rear-view mirror to see if the cop is following him. He doesn't even see the bridge and bingo! He goes off. He gets out of the car; she doesn't. The poor son of a bitch doesn't know what to do. He's thinking: "I want to get back to my house, to my friends" - which is a common reaction.

There are houses on Dike Road he could have gone to report the accident, but he doesn't want to. Because it's the same situation he was trying to get away from at the corner - which turned out to be minor compared to what happened later. Now there's been an accident; and the girl's probably dead. All the more reason not to go banging on somebody's door in the middle of the night and admit what he was doing. He doesn't want to reveal himself.

And the funny part about it was, 'Huck' was only trying to give his directions.

(4) Edward Kennedy, speech on television (25th July, 1969)

My fellow citizens, I have requested this opportunity to talk to the people of Massachusetts about the tragedy which happened last Friday evening. This morning I entered a plea of guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of the accident. Prior to my appearance in court it would have been improper for me to comment on these matters. But tonight I am free to tell you what happened and to say what it means to me.

On Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha's Vineyard, I attended on Friday evening, July 18, a cookout I had encouraged and helped sponsor for the devoted group of Kennedy campaign secretaries. When I left the party, around 11.15pm, I was accompanied by one of those girls, Miss Mary JO Kopechne. Mary JO was one of the most devoted members of the staff of Senator Robert Kennedy. For this reason, and because she was such a gentle, kind and idealistic person, all of us tried to help her feel that she had a home with the Kennedy family.

There is no truth, no truth whatsoever, to the widely-circulated suspicions of immoral conduct that have been levelled at my behaviour and hers regarding that evening. There has never been a private relationship between us of any kind. I know of nothing in Mary Jo's conduct on that or any other occasion - the same is true of the other girls at that party - that would lend any substance to such ugly speculation about their character. Nor was I driving under the influence of liquor.

Little over one mile away, the car I was driving on an unlit road went off a narrow bridge which had no guard-rails and was built on a left angle to the road. The car overturned in a deep pond and immediately filled with water. I remember thinking as the cold water rushed in around my head that I was for certain drowning. Then water entered my lungs and I actually felt the sensation of drowning. But somehow I struggled to the surface alive. I made immediate and repeated efforts to save Mary JO by diving into the strong and murky current but succeeded only in increasing my state of utter exhaustion and alarm.

My conduct and conversations during the next several hours to the extent that I can remember them make no sense to me at all. Although my doctors informed me that I suffered a cerebral concussion as well as shock, I do not seek to escape responsibility for my actions by placing the blame either on the physical, emotional trauma brought on by the accident or on anyone else. I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately.

Instead of looking directly for a telephone number affair lying exhausted in the grass for an undetermined time, walked back to the cottage where the party was being held and requested the help of two friends, my cousin Joseph Gargan and Paul Markham, and directed them to return immediately to the scene with me - this was some time after midnight - in order to undertake a new effort to dive.

(5) The Herald Journal (25th August, 1975)

Gwen Kopechne, whose daughter was killed six years ago when a car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy plunged off a bridge, is quoted as saying Kennedy got bad advice about the accident and then couldn't back out of it to tell the truth.

Mrs. Kopechne is quoted by "New Times" magazine as saying she also believes the Massachusetts Democrat was confused about the mishap when he made his first statements about it.

"He had poor advice, right from the time it happened. I think he got so involved in this lousy advice and then couldn't back out and tell the truth. He got deeper and deeper into it," Mrs. Kopechne is quoted as saying.

According to the interview, the Kopechnes say they believe their daughter, Mary Jo, was sleeping in the back seat of Kennedy's car when it ran off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island.

Mary Jo was a 28-year-old former campaign worker for Kennedy's brother, Robert, and had attended a party with a group of other persons on the small island adjoining Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on the night of July 18, 1969.

Kennedy's sworn statement is that he was returning to his hotel and taking Mary Jo back to hers when he made a wrong turn and accidentally drove off the bridge. He said he managed somehow to escape from the submerged car but was unable to rescue the girl.

Joseph Kopechne is quoted by the magazine as saying he and his wife rejected an autopsy later because "we were led to believe that the autopsy was primarily to find out if my daughter was pregnant."

(6) Leo Damore, Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquidick Cover-up (1988)

One of the most disputed questions raised by the accident was what time Senator Kennedy left the party with Mary Jo Kopechne.

In his first statement to police, the Senator claimed that he was taking Miss Kopechne to the ferry when the accident occurred. Since ferry service to Edgartown stopped at midnight, his version of events required that he would have had to leave in time to catch the last ferry.

Gargan, who was cleaning up after cooking the meal, thought it could have been as late as 11:50 pm when the Senator left the party. Although he wasn't wearing a watch, he said "I made a mental note - no particular reason - that he was going to make the ferry. When he left, the assumption was that he was going to the landing, but I don't know where he went."

Gargan said "It was very hot, and some people were going for walks. It's possible the Senator went for a walk before getting into the car, or did all kinds of things. I know he still had time to get to the ferry - if he was going to the ferry."

Kennedy didn't announce he was leaving or say good night to anyone. Neither did Mary Jo. Miss Kopeckne left her pocket book behind, and it was found at the cottage the next morning.

Those close to Ted Kennedy claimed that his chauffeur ( Jack Crimmins ) "drove the Senator everywhere." Since Crimmins was present at the party, some thought it was peculiar that he hadn't driven Kennedy and Miss Kopechne to the ferry.

Crimmins testified that the Senator had called him out of the cottage to the front yard and asked for the keys to the car. "He told me that he was tired, and that he was going to take Miss Kopechne back." Crimmins claimed that he didn't want to give Kennedy the keys, and that he had offered to drive him to the ferry landing. Kennedy wanted to drive, however, and because "It was his automobile," Crimmins said, "I gave the keys to him. I didn't question him." Crimmins was certain that Kennedy left at 11:15 pm, "Because I looked at my watch."

(7) Joe Gargan was interviewed by Leo Damore in 1988.

Kennedy told Gargan and Markham that after he had swum the channel, he had slipped into the Shiretown Inn unseen, changed clothes and established his presence by asking an employee patrolling the premises the time. He had gone to bed and awakened around 7 o'clock. He had betrayed no sign of having been involved in an automobile accident to a number of witnesses. It wasn't too late for the scenario he had proposed to be put into effect. It wouldn't be difficult to convince people he hadn't known about the accident until the next morning.

The Senator expected the incident to have been "taken care of " when Gargan and Markham showed up the next morning, that Gargan would have reported the accident and told the police that Mary Jo Kopechne had been driving the accident car. The Senator had counted on Gargan to realize, after an hour or so had passed and nobody showed up at the cottage, that he had no choice but to report the accident. It was, after all, the kind of clean-up detail Gargan customarily performed as advance man, a dependency that went back to the "Joey'll fix it" days of their boyhood. So long as there was a chance Gargan would reconsider his objections to the plan, the Senator had not reported the accident himself.

Gargan was mortified by the Senator's motive for swimming the channel: to force him to follow a course he had made clear he wanted followed, irrespective of Gargan's objections. That the accident had not been reported was bad enough. For the Senator to have misrepresented his intentions by subterfuge, saying he was going to report the accident and then not doing so, and start putting an alibi into play only compounded the tragedy.

Gargan said "This thing is worse now than it was before. We've got to do something. We're reporting the accident right now!"

Kennedy said "I'm going to say that Mary Jo was driving."

"There's no way you can say that!" Gargan said. "You can be placed at the scene. Jesus! We've got to report this thing. Let's go."

Kennedy was reluctant to do so, Markham observed. "He was still stuck on the idea of having Mary Jo driving the car."

(8) W. Penn Jones Jr, Texas Midlothian Mirror (31st July, 1969)

Bobby Baker was about the first person in Washington to know that Lyndon Johnson was to be dumped as the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1964. Baker knew that President Kennedy had offered the spot on the ticket to Senator George Smathers of Florida... Baker knew because his secretary. Miss Nancy Carole Tyler, roomed with one of George Smathers' secretaries. Miss Mary Jo Kopechne had been another of Smathers' secretaries. Now both Miss Tyler and Miss Kopechne have died strangely.

(9) Richard E. Sprague, The Taking of America (1976)

The Power Control Group faced up to the Ted Kennedy and Kennedy family problem very early. They used the threat against the Kennedy children's lives very effectively between 1963 and 1968 to silence Bobby and the rest of the family and friends who knew the truth. It was necessary to assassinate Bobby in 1968 because with the power of the presidency he could have prevented the Group from harming the children. When Teddy began making moves to run for president in 1969 for the 1972 election, the Group decided to put some real action behind their threats. Killing Teddy in 1969 would have been too much. They selected a new way of eliminating him as a candidate. They framed him with the death of a young girl, and threw sexual overtones in for good measure.

Here is what happened according to Robert Cutler's (You the Jury - 1974) analysis of the evidence. The Group hired several men and at least one woman to be at Chappaquiddick during the weekend of the yacht race and the planned party on the island. They ambushed Ted and Mary Jo after they left the cottage and knocked Ted out with blows to his head and body. They took the unconscious or semi-conscious Kennedy to Martha's Vineyard and deposited him in his hotel room. Another group took Mary Jo to the bridge in Ted's car, force fed her with a knock out potion of alcoholic beverage, placed her in the back seat, and caused the car to accelerate off the side of the bridge into the water. They broke the windows on one side of the car to insure the entry of water; then they watched the car until they were sure Mary Jo would not escape.

Mary Jo actually regained consciousness and pushed her way to the top of the car (which was actually the bottom of the car - it had landed on its roof) and died from asphyxiation. The group with Teddy revived him early in the morning and let him know he had a problem. Possibly they told him that Mary Jo had been kidnapped. They told him his children would be killed if he told anyone what had happened and that he would hear from them. On Chappaquiddick, the other group made contact with Markham and Gargan, Ted's cousin and lawyer. They told both men that Mary Jo was at the bottom of the river and that Ted would have to make up a story about it, not revealing the existence of the group. One of the men resembled Ted and his voice sounded something like Ted's. Markham and Gargan were instructed to go the the Vineyard on the morning ferry, tell Ted where Mary Jo was, and come back to the island to wait for a phone call at a pay station near the ferry on the Chappaquiddick side.

The two men did as they were told and Ted found out what had happened to Mary Jo that morning. The three men returned to the pay phone and received their instructions to concoct a story about the "accident" and to report it to the police. The threat against Ted's children was repeated at that time.

Ted, Markham and Gargan went right away to police chief Arena's office on the Vineyard where Ted reported the so-called "accident." Almost at the same time scuba diver John Farror was pulling Mary Jo out of the water, since two boys who had gone fishing earlier that morning had spotted the car and reported it.

Ted called together a small coterie of friends and advisors including family lawyer Burke Marshall, Robert MacNamara, Ted Sorenson, and others. They met on Squaw Island near the Kennedy compound at Hyannisport for three days. At the end of that time they had manufactured the story which Ted told on TV, and later at the inquest. Bob Cutler calls the story, "the shroud." Even the most cursory examination of the story shows it was full of holes and an impossible explanation of what happened. Ted's claim that he made the wrong turn down the dirt road toward the bridge by mistake is an obvious lie. His claim that he swam the channel back to Martha's Vineyard is not believable. His description of how he got out of the car under water and then dove down to try to rescue Mary Jo is impossible. Markham and Gargan's claims that they kept diving after Mary Jo are also unbelievable.

The evidence for the Cutler scenario is substantial. It begins with the marks on the bridge and the position of the car in the water. The marks show that the car was standing still on the bridge and then accelerated off the edge, moving at a much higher speed than Kennedy claimed. The distance the car travelled in the air also confirms this. The damage to the car on two sides and on top plus the damage to the windshield and the rear view mirror stanchion prove that some of the damage had to have been inflicted before the car left the bridge.

The blood on the back and on the sleeves of Mary Jo's blouse proves that a wound was inflicted before she left the bridge. The alcohol in her bloodstream proves she was drugged, since all witnesses testified she never drank and did not drink that night. The fact that she was in the back seat when her body was recovered indicates that is where she was when the car hit the water. There was no way she could have dived downward against the inrushing water and moved from the front to the back seat underneath the upside-down seat back.

The wounds on the back of Ted Kennedy's skull, those just above his ear and the large bump on the top indicate he was knocked out. His actions at the hotel the next morning show he was not aware of Mary Jo's death until Markham and Gargan arrived. The trip to the pay phone on Chappaquiddick can only be explained by his receiving a call there, not making one. There were plenty of pay phones in or near Ted's hotel if he needed to make a private call. The tides in the channel and the direction in which Ted claimed he swam do not match. In addition it would have been a superhuman feat to have made it across the channel (as proven by several professionals who subsequently tried it).

Deputy Sheriff Christopher Look's testimony, coupled with the testimony of Ray LaRosa and two Lyons girls, proves that there were two people in Ted's car with Mary Jo at 12:45 pm. The three party members walking along the road south toward the cottage confirmed the time that Mr. Look drove by. He stopped to ask if they needed a ride. Look says that just prior to that he encountered Ted's car parked facing north at the juncture of the main road and the dirt road. It was on a short extension of the north-south section of the road junction to the north of the "T". He says he saw a man driving, a woman in the seat beside him, and what he thought was another woman lying on the back seat. He remembered a portion of the license plate which matched Ted's car, as did the description of the car. Markham, Gargan and Ted's driver's testimony show that someone they talked to in the pitch black night sounded like Ted and was about his height and build.

None of the above evidence was ever explained by Ted or by anyone else at the inquest or at the hearing on the case demanded by district attorney Edward Dinis. No autopsy was ever allowed on Mary Jo's body (her family objected), and Ted made it possible to fly her body home for burial rather quickly. Kennedy haters have seized upon Chappaquiddick to enlarge the sexual image now being promoted of both Ted and Jack Kennedy. Books like "Teddy Bare" take full advantage of the situation.

Just which operatives in the Power Control Group at the high levels or the lower levels were on Chappaquiddick Island? No definite evidence has surfaced as yet, except for an indication that there was at least one woman and at least three men, one of whom resembled Ted Kennedy and who sounded like him in the darkness. However, two pieces of testimony in the Watergate hearings provide significant clues as to which of the known JFK case conspirators may have been there.

E. Howard Hunt told of a strange trip to Hyannisport to see a local citizen there about the Chappaquiddick incident. Hunt's cover story on this trip was that he was digging up dirt on Ted Kennedy for use in the 1972 campaign. The story does not make much sense if one questions why Hunt would have to wear a disguise, including his famous red wig, and to use a voice-alteration device to make himself sound like someone else. If, on the other hand, Hunt's purpose was to return to the scene of his crime just to make sure that no one who might have seen his group at the bridge or elsewhere would talk, then the disguise and the voice box make sense.

The other important testimony came from Tony Ulasewicz who said he was ordered by the Plumbers to fly immediately to Chappaquiddick and dig up dirt on Ted. The only problem Tony has is that, according to his testimony, he arrived early on the morning of the "accident", before the whole incident had been made public. Ulasewicz is the right height and weight to resemble Kennedy and with a CIA voice-alteration device he presumably could be made to sound like him. There is a distinct possibility that Hunt and Tony were there when it happened.

The threats by the Power Control Group, the frame-up at Chappaquiddick, and the murders of Jack and Bobby Kennedy cannot have failed to take their toll on all of the Kennedys. Rose, Ted, Jackie, Ethel and the other close family members must be very tired of it all by now. They can certainly not be blamed for hoping it will all go away. Investigations like those proposed by Henry Gonzalez and Thomas Downing only raised the spectre of the powerful Control Group taking revenge by kidnapping some of the seventeen children.

It was no wonder that a close Kennedy friend and ally in California, Representative Burton, said that he would oppose the Downing and Gonzalez resolutions unless Ted Kennedy put his stamp of approval on them. While the sympathies of every decent American go out to them, the future of our country and the freedom of the people to control their own destiny through the election process mean more than the lives of all the Kennedys put together. If John Kennedy were alive today he would probably make the same statement.

(10) Charles Schlund, Chappaquiddick: Ted Kennedy Was Framed By The CIA! (July, 2001)

In the CIA files in the Don Bolles papers was the files on the framing of Ted Kennedy for the death of Marry Joe Kopechne at Chappaquiddick by the CIA. In the CIA files that George Bush had removed from the CIA was Ted Kennedy's file.

After the CIA had assassinated John F. Kennedy and framed Oswald for the assassination and after the CIA had assassinated Robert Kennedy and framed Sirhan Sirhan for the assassination they needed a way of stopping the last Kennedy brother from ever running for the presidency of the United States. They believed that if they killed him it would look like the CIA had assassinated all the brothers so the CIA decided to allow him to live and to discredit him to stop him from being reelected by framing him at Chappaquiddick for the death of Mary Joe Kopechne. By doing this the CIA planned on stopping him from ever becoming president of the United States of America. The following is how the CIA framed Ted Kennedy for the death of Mary Joe Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.

I no longer remember all of the details because of the constant electronic torture of me which is still being used against me to limit my freedom of speech and damage my memory and ability to write using electronic torture and sleep deprivation. The following is what I still can remember while I'm being kept disabled and in a electronically drugged state. Ted Kennedy and the other couple were at the cabin and Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne were getting ready to leave. The CIA had drugged one of the bottles that they were drinking from. I do not remember all the details but I do remember that the bottle had a drug put into it which would result in Ted Kennedy and Mary Joe Kopechne becoming unconscious after drinking from drinks poured from the bottle. I remember that just before they left they all drank a drink that had been poured from the bottle. I believe it was a toast.

Ted Kennedy and the May Joe Kopechne left and started back with Ted driving. On the road on the way back was barricades and a detour sign that the CIA had put into place directing Ted down the road they needed him on to conduct their planed murder of Mary Joe. The CIA had positioned one car ahead of Ted's car and another car was behind him. As soon as Ted entered the detour the CIA moved the barricades to block off where he had turned down so no else could come down the road until after they had taken over Ted and his car. Ted was monitored the entire time by the CIA. Mary Joe had passed out from the drug and Ted was starting to pass out. The CIA car in front of Ted's car slowed down so they could use their car to stop Ted's car from crashing as Ted passed out. This worked fine and they were able to stop Ted's car. After they got the car stopped they took Mary Joe and placed her in the back seat and took Ted to the other car. Then two CIA operatives replaced Ted and Mary Joe with the man in the driver seat and a women operative replacing Mary Joe in the front seat. Then all three cars proceeded to the bridge and as they drove they called back by radio and the gave the orders in code to remove the barricades.

The constable for that area was one of the CIA operatives in charge of the operation. I still see him on TV saying how Ted got away with murder. This constable was the person that set up the car to go off the bridge which resulted in the death of Mary Joe. He first prepared everything to make it look like Ted and her were having an affair and that was why they turned down that road. They were not having an affair. When they got to the bridge they set up the car to send it off the bridge with Mary Joe still in the car.

The drug they had used was a special drug that would not show up in the autopsy report because she would never be tested for that drug. They had also planned on her stomach being full of water after the crash. After rigging the gas pedal and steering and sending the car off the bridge the car would not sink and floated nose down in the water and was starting to float away. They got a rope on the car and held it in place and one of them had to swim out to the car and open the door to get it to sink It took the CIA 20 to 30 minutes to make the car sink where they needed it to rest on the bottom.

They then prepared Ted Kennedy for the water. They put a injury on him but I do not remember in detail what the injury was but it was to make it look like that he was in the crash and was driving the car that killed Mary Joe. They then took Ted Kennedy's body out into the water on the side of the bridge and propped him up with one of the CIA operatives holding him from behind. Another CIA agent then injected him in the neck with the antidote to the drug they had used on him. Ted Kennedy then slowly showed signs of recovering. The antidote was mixed with another drug to make Ted Kennedy confused and disorientated. They then got out of the water and watched to make sure Ted didn't drown before he recovered enough to get out of the water.

Ted Kennedy stumbled out of the water and tried to figure out what had happened. He finally figured out that the car was under water in the pond and he had no ideal of what happened. It took him some time to recover enough to leave to search for help and he was still badly disorientated from the drugs they used on him. He was not drunk and had only had one or two drinks and Mary Joe had only one drink and if I remember correctly she did not drink all of it.

The CIA monitored and filmed all of this. As soon as Ted Kennedy left to try to find help the CIA moved in and cleaned up all the evidence to make sure it looked like an accident.

The next events are all history. They asked Ted Kennedy what happened and he replied that he did not know and that Mary Joe must of been driving the car. He didn't know because he was not driving and was unconscious. The press and others then attacked him and set it up to make it look like he was lying to get out of the death of Mary Joe. At that time Ted Kennedy was forced to take full responsibility with him not having any memory of the accident. The papers and others then printed stories of how she was pregnant which she wasn't and of how Ted was drunk which he wasn't and of how the Kennedy's were buying their way out of what had happened which they weren't.

The investigation into the crash was not real it was only the framing of Ted Kennedy for the death of Mary Joe Kopechne.

The CIA assumed that by framing Ted Kennedy that they had assured that Ted Kennedy would no longer be electable and that they could force him out of the public eye and out of their hair. To the amazement of the CIA it did not work and Ted was repeatedly reelected to public office.

Ted Kennedy was now back fighting for Human Rights, Civil Rights and the American people as his brothers had before him. The CIA was now desperate to remove him from the public eye but it was not acceptable to assassinate him because they believed that it may interfere with the on going cover-up of the assassinations of his brothers. If all three brothers died in public office no reasonable person would believe that it was not the CIA that did it. They needed another way of disabling him to remove him as a threat to their empire. The director of the CIA George Bush in 1976 came up with the way of doing this. The new remote controlled electronic torture devices that the CIA had designed were now in service and when used with a bugging device built into them they could be used to remove targeted people under the protection of a warrant in an investigation and under the color of law.

The Next operation we had was the framing of Ted Kennedy as being a drug dealer to authorize the use of these new electronic bugging and torture devices to disable him. We even had the file on the briefing to the federal Judge for the warrant to be used against him. The following was in the briefing to the judge. Your honor what is so unbelievable that Ted Kennedy is involved in the drug trade, after all his father was a boot legger.

The CIA had failed in removing Ted Kennedy as a Senator from Massachusetts. Even after they discredited him before the people by framing him at Chappaquiddick for the death of Mary Joe Kopechne and even after they attacked him repeatedly in the press and news, he was still repeatedly reelected to the Senate by the people of Massachusetts. The CIA did not like this at all and the CIA still felt that Ted Kennedy was a great threat to their assassinations, drug running and other illegal operations. They then started on a new way of controlling Ted Kennedy. This new mode of control was to be by the use of electronic stimulation of his mind and body by the CIA to remove him as a threat to their covert operations within the government. They first placed him under constant surveillance and monitored his phones, mail and they even bugged his cars and everything else they could monitor. All information at this time was being illegally collected and that made it unusable in the News Papers or in the courts. They decided that the best way of authorizing the legal bugging of Ted Kennedy would be to frame him as being a drug trafficker. To do this they first needed evidence to present to one of the corrupt judges that they controlled to obtain a warrant to monitor Ted Kennedy. They collected his garbage and even followed him when he went on week end outings in boats and other places.

They took sandwich bags from his garbage and from his boating trips and checked these sandwich bags for his fingerprints. In time they obtained some plastic sandwich bags with Ted Kennedy's finger prints on the bags. They then proceeded to clean the inside of these bags and then placed drugs into the cleaned bags. These plastic bags now filled with drugs were then given to a drug dealer that the DEA controlled and the bags were then busted in a drug bust with Ted Kennedy's finger prints on the bags.

The CIA had also designed a way of removing finger prints using a special tape that they had developed and then reinstalling these finger prints on other things as needed to target innocent targeted people. I believe that this process was also used in the framing of Ted Kennedy but I do not remember enough of this part of the files to be 100% certain.

Now there was usable evidence for a real warrant and the DEA could now takeover the operations from the CIA against Ted Kennedy and do these covert operations under the cover of a warrant in an investigation and under the protection of the law. They then continued to frame Ted Kennedy as being involved in the drug trade to further authorize the bugging and control of and over him by the CIA using their covert operation the DEA to gather the need evidence to frame Ted Kennedy as being involved in the drug trade.

In the CIA and the DEA files we had where the orders from George Bush for the bugging of Ted Kennedy using the new CIA control, torture and monitoring devices. They had determined that it was impossible to keep Ted Kennedy sick and disabled by just using the devices in his clothing. He had to many clothes and was always buying new clothes. The CIA and DEA researched if he wore any jewelry that he never took off that they could install the devices in or

if there was any other way of controlling and bugging him without injecting Ted Kennedy with implants.

When I was reading the files George Bush had stated in them that he was paranoid that if they got caught using implants in Senators and Congressmen that the American People would no longer trust them and that the operation may backfire but to the best of my memory he did approve the use of the implants against Ted Kennedy which resulted in Ted Kennedy suffering horribly with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This illness was an auto immune response from the bugging devices and was designed to so involve the targeted person in their own suffering and misery that they would no longer be of a threat to the CIA, DEA or others that were protected and above all laws.

Ted Kennedy's Chronic fatigue Syndrome went away in 1991 or 1992 because of my work with the FBI against the DEA and CIA. I am uncertain if Ted Kennedy was injected with electronic implants or if they used electronic devices in his clothing and jewelry to keep him sick, disabled and under their control all of those years as they monitored, tortured and controlled him. My direct information on Ted Kennedy ended in 1977.

(11) Anthony Ulasewicz, The President's Private Eye (1990)

I wanted to know what happened in the car between Kennedy and Kopechne after they left the party on Chappaquiddick and before it flipped over the bridge. Only Kennedy could answer that and, up until now, he hadn't and probably never would.

What did it all mean? I thought about Kennedy swimming the channel back to Edgartown, not going to the police station to report the accident, and then, almost mysteriously, appearing fresh as a daisy; he was dressed and clean shaven as if nothing, nothing! had ever happened. How does a man live with himself if he doesn't know whether someone he was just with is alive or dead? How do you explain the fact he showed no feelings until after he was told the body was found and only then, according to witnesses, did Kennedy appear to realize what happened. Then my thoughts shifted to all those hours Kopechne was in the car, to her rigid, statue-like body, her claw-like hands, her terror, and then no autopsy to learn if water was in her lungs. No medical examiner in the world worth his salt would have signed off as quickly as Dr. Mills.

On Monday, January 5, 1970, the inquest into the death of Mary Jo Kopechne began in the Edgartown District Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I was there, along with many others, shivering in the cold outside the courthouse. Not only was the public barred, but also the press. The journey to the inquest was my fifth trip to Edgartown. For four days, I stood in the cold outside the courthouse. It looked like the World Series had come to town: reporters, law students in recess, camera crews, traveling court buffs, Edgartown residents, and myself, among others, stood cloaked with the same motive-to find a way to get inside. But there wasn't any. Every available electronic security gadget was in place to make sure no one got a piece of the evidential pie until Judge Boyle released the slices.

While waiting for the inquest to end, I mentally speculated whether Kennedy's own phone calls had also been taken out-eliminated by his contact within the phone company or, inadvertently, by the White House connection who might have caused an overlapping obliteration of everyone's records. The phone company could never deny that there were once records of my calls to the White House. Not only did I make them, but they were also paid for with funds provided by Herb Kalmbach, the President's personal attorney.

(12) Anthony Ulasewicz, The President's Private Eye (1990)

The Union Leader's "Ace" Egan and I had agreed that the next time we met, it would be on his turf. In early August, we met in the lobby of the Howard Johnson Motel in Manchester, New Hampshire. Egan had picked this spot because, he said, nobody would bother us there. Having arrived before Egan, I watched him approach the lobby accompanied by two other men. From a distance, I thought that one of the men might have been Loeb himself. However, the two men waited outside the lobby and I never got a good look at their faces. As Egan came toward me I wondered how far my con job of him could travel. I was still Ed Ferguson, investigative reporter and had nothing to give him except a repeat of what he already knew-namely, the numbers and location of the public phones on Chappaquiddick. Egan looked as confident and cocky as any reporter I had ever met. He was on a mission to prove something, and that apparently neutralized any doubt on his part as to who I was or what I could deliver.

"Here's the list," Egan said as he handed me three folded sheets of paper. The perforation marks on the edges of the paper reminded me of the teletype paper I used to see in the Twenty-fifth Precinct during my years in Harlem. The records were authentic all right. I had seen plenty of phone records in my time as a detective and knew what to look for. There were handwritten notations of the names of some of those who had received the calls, the time the calls were made, and the listed owners of the phone numbers. There were also notations of "Ch" and "Pot" in the margin. Egan said they were abbreviations for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies, respectively, which had issued a credit card in Kennedy's name. The list showed that phone calls had been made from a variety of points on Martha's Vineyard which indicated that more than one person had been using Kennedy's credit card during the night.

What bothered Egan the most was trying to match a 21-minute call that was made before midnight to the time Kennedy claimed he arrived back at the cottage after the accident. This call was traced to a phone number at the cottage and was made to the Kennedy compound in Hyannis. If Kennedy showed up before midnight but didn't tell anyone what had happened except Gargan and Markham, both of whom then went back to the bridge with Kennedy, then whoever made the call, if you believed Kennedy's statement, couldn't have known about the accident. Kennedy had already said on national television that nobody at the cottage knew about the accident except Gargan and Markham. If someone else knew and got on the phone as soon as Kennedy returned to the cottage, they were keeping quiet about it. Egan told me that he didn't know whether the phone that was used was the one I saw in the studio behind the cottage or one that was in the cottage itself. While it was possible that someone just wanted to make a social call around midnight and charge it to Kennedy's credit card, the timing was all wrong to accept that proposition.

To make matters worse, Egan said that when he confronted the Police Chief, Dominick Arena, at Police Headquarters about the phone calls, Arena said he knew all about the calls from the cottage and the Inn. "Which Inn?," I asked Egan. "The Shiretown," Egan answered, "where Kennedy stayed." Checking the list I saw that during the night several calls were made from a pay phone at the Inn and charged to Kennedy's credit card. The timing of these calls fit the period Kennedy was at the Inn after he swam back to Edgartown from the Chappaquiddick ferry dock. "What's, Arena doing about the calls,?" I asked Egan. "Nothing," he answered. "As far as he's concerned the case is closed." I wondered how Arena was going to deal with the calls when the coroner's inquest was held. Phone records were going to be subpoenaed and Arena was going to look like a fool for not questioning everyone who attended the Kennedy party about the calls.

I couldn't give myself away and tell Egan what I would have done with these phone records if I had had the chance, but if I did, I would have stuck everybody in a room and called them in one by one and kept rotating them in and out until somebody broke. If no one owned up to making any of the calls, then Ted Kennedy had himself one monumental problem. He had lied to the nation on television because the phone calls were certainly made, and only he could explain them away. If someone did admit to the calls, then Kennedy was still in trouble because he said he didn't call or tell anybody about the accident (except Gargan and Markham) until the morning after. In any event, none of the calls that were made that night sought help for Mary Jo Kopechne.

The calls on the list Egan showed me continued throughout the night. Some of them were made from the phones whose numbers I had recorded and given to Egan. I didn't ask to have a copy of the list because I really didn't have anything more to give Egan in return. But Egan didn't press me. His greatest need was reassurance that someone else had information that conformed with his; that when likely denials surfaced from the phone company and the Kennedy group, there was a force behind him to take on the challenge. Little did he know that the Nixon White House would be behind him all the way. "I've still got four or five more days work on this story," Egan said, "and then I'll let it fly."

On August 13, the Union Leader published Egan's story about the phone calls he and I were certain Kennedy or his friends had made between the time of the accident and dawn. The number of these calls gave the lie to Kennedy's claim that he experienced a period of absolute silence after the accident before his mind woke up to report it. Egan's story began: "Although U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy claimed to be in `a state of shock' after the traffic accident which took the life of a pretty female companion, he nevertheless had the mental fortitude to make a total of 17 telephone calls in the hours succeeding the accident."

Sure enough, within a few days of the Union Leader's publication of Egan's story, the New England Telephone Company denied the existence of the records. It didn't surprise me a bit, for that was their job. Egan confirmed his story in a follow-up article by disclosing his source for the records as James T. Gilmartin, a friend of Egan's who was an attorney and real estate broker with an office at 147 East 230th Street in the Bronx. Gilmartin had the right connection inside the phone company. Egan also wrote that he had a conversation with a Richard E. McLaughlin of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles in Boston who told Egan that Kennedy's license wasn't wet and showed no signs of being immersed in water. McLaughlin denied ever speaking to Egan. After threatening a lawsuit and filing a complaint with the Massachusetts Public Service Commission, the Union Leader published a story which printed, in full, a letter from the New England Telephone Company confirming Egan's story about the calls to and from McLaughlin. Operator toll-tickets, as they are called, proved Egan's allegations.

For whatever reason, Egan's story about the phone calls never took off in the press. While his scoop carried here and there, the media didn't pick up the story and run with it as a challenge to Kennedy's claim that he never contacted anyone until the morning after the accident. That in itself wasn't surprising either. Since everyone knew that Loeb and the Union Leader were out to tar and feather any Kennedy they could find, Egan's story had less impact than it would have had coming from a less biased paper. Regardless of the story about the phone calls, reporters and journalists around the world were not buying the Kennedy version of what happened. Staff members of the Republican National Committee were kept busy clipping and pasting together every newspaper article and editorial that broke into print. The White House wanted a record of the attack on Kennedy's credibility to use if Kennedy ever sought the Presidency. A scrapbook of the articles and editorials was put together and given the title: "At an Appropriate Time."

On Wednesday, March 12, 1980, The New York Times finally published a lengthy front-page article headlined "Gaps Found in Chappaquiddick Phone Data." The story confirmed what Egan and I had known many years before that there had been a coverup.

"Records of Senator Edward M. Kennedy's telephone calls, " The New York Times article began, "in the hours after the accident at Chappaquiddick were withheld by the telephone company from an inquest into the death of Mary Jo Kopechne without the knowledge of the Assistant District Attorney who asked for them." The first call on the list the phone company produced at the inquest wasn't made until almost 11 o'clock in the morning. That a coverup of the calls I saw had been set in motion was confirmed again when I read that a pilot called by a Kennedy associate had flown over Chappaquiddick while Kennedy's car was still in the water. The Times story claimed that the Kennedy associate who made the call had been on Nantucket, not Martha's Vineyard. Someone had to have called him first before he told the pilot to start up the engines of his plane. I regretted not having had the second chance to check the identification numbers of the plane I saw parked behind the Katama Shores Motel and learn the owner and when that plane had landed there. The Kopechne family deserves a boatload of answers to the questions left unanswered. If they want the case reopened, I sure wouldn't blame them.

(13) Anthony Ulasewicz, The President's Private Eye (1990)

I spent the entire night of July 19 on Chappaquiddick, taking periodic cat naps in my car and moving it every so often so that some snoop wouldn't knock on my window or write down my license plate number. I had charged the car rental to my own American Express card rather than the one issued for my alias, Ed Stanley, because Stanley was my tie-in to the White House. I did have to use the telephone credit card issued to Stanley, however, because I hadn't had the time to obtain one in my own name. I resolved that after I finished this assignment, Stanley's name and the list of his calls would be eliminated from telephone company records. That was an assignment I intended to give to Caulfield. Using my own credit card on Martha's Vineyard or Chappaquiddick wouldn't link me to anyone. I also had a practical reason for charging the rental car to my own name: I had to account for my travel and expenses. On every investigation I eventually did for the White House, I always charged one item to my own credit card in order to prove I had been where I said I was in the event anyone in the White House ever raised any question about my expenses. I kept exact records.

As dawn broke over Chappaquiddick, I returned to Dike Bridge, confirming my thoughts of the night before and planning my next move. I had to act quickly. The media heavyweights would soon arrive from their coverage of the historic trip to the moon, and some of them would, of course, be from the New York press corps. I didn't need to hear a "Hey, Tony" or have my shoulder tapped by an old acquaintance.

I waited on Chappaquiddick until a decent hour and then went to "Dike Cottage." As I stood waiting for the door of the cottage to open, I became a man named Ferguson, a fictional investigative reporter for a doubly fictional feature writer's association I had made up. Ferguson wasn't exactly Clark Kent from the Daily Planet, but he wasn't a bad guy either. Answering the door of the cottage was Mrs. Pierre Malm. Dike Cottage was her summer home, she said, her permanent residence being in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. It was to her door that the two boys who spotted Kennedy's car had come to report their sighting. Mrs. Malm told me she was upstairs reading in bed on the night of the accident when she heard a car pass their cottage. The car, she said, was traveling rather fast as it headed for the bridge. She didn't hear it return. She didn't hear it hit anything or go crashing into the water. She stopped reading for a short while as she listened for further sounds. Hearing none, she continued reading until midnight, then put out the light and went to sleep. She told me that her two dogs would have barked and awakened her if anyone had come near the cottage. Nobody did. Only the two youngsters who came the next morning to tell her what they found.

Afterward, I headed back to Edgartown with a shopping list of questions in my head. Although I desperately wanted to go to sleep, I wanted to learn the official cause of death as well as the results of the autopsy I expected had been performed on the girl. So I went to the obvious place: the Edgartown Funeral Home. The first question I asked was who had been called to the scene to examine the body after it had been pulled out of the car. The owner and director of the funeral home, Eugene Frieh, told me that he had been called together with Dr. Donald R. Mills, an Associate Medical Examiner for Suffolk County. Mills had examined the body at the bridge. According to Frieh, Mills estimated that Mary Jo Kopechne had been dead for approximately six hours before being pulled out of the car. But the radio reports-if you could believe them-said that her body had been in the car at least nine hours before being brought to the surface. That left three hours of possible life to account for. I wondered if there was an air pocket in the car after it sank in the pond. I then asked Frieh about the autopsy.

"There wasn't any," Frieh said.

"No autopsy?," I asked in astonishment.

"No," Frieh answered. "They said it wasn't necessary."

"Who said it wasn't necessary?"

"Dr. Mills. He said she drowned."

"What kind of examination did he give her?"

"He checked her with his stethoscope, pushed against her chest and turned her over."

"What happened when he pushed her chest?"

"Mills said there was a lot of water in her. I didn't see much water. I saw a lot of foam around her nose and mouth." "How long did the examination take?"

"Just a few minutes."

"That's all?"

"That's all."

I was dumbstruck that an autopsy hadn't been demanded. Where I come from, an autopsy would have been standard operating procedure. During the years I was assigned to Harlem's Twenty- fifth Precinct, the currents of the Harlem River frequently became the escort for bodies that floated up the river with other flotsam and jetsam and then got wedged up against the base of the Triborough Bridge. When a body was pulled out of the water, the amount of fluid pouring from it governed the intensity and the time the "brains" in the detective squad spent investigating the cause of death. The less saturation of the tissues, the more intense the investigation. Ordering an autopsy would have been automatic. As I talked to the Edgartown funeral director I also knew that the presence of foam around the nose and mouth was an indicator of oxygen starvation, not drowning. If the radio reports issued about the time of the accident were accurate and Mills' estimate of the time of death was on target, then there was a good chance that the girl had been alive in Kennedy's car for quite awhile after his car hit the water. For public consumption, Mills was quoted as saying, "The body was rigid as a statue, the teeth were gritted, there was froth around the nose, and the hands were in a claw-like position."

During my discussion with Frieh, I noticed that he kept twisting and turning his body to point out a casket as he talked. I didn't need a road map to tell me that it was the girl's casket. Frieh also told me that on Saturday afternoon, after the body had been placed in his custody and delivered to his funeral home, someone-Frieh couldn't remember his name-identifying himself as a Kennedy staff member said he was there to complete arrangements to fly the girl's body back home to Pennsylvania.

(14) The Herald Journal(25th August, 1975)

Gwen Kopechne, whose daughter was killed six years ago when a car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy plunged off a bridge, is quoted as saying Kennedy got bad advice about the accident and then couldn't back out of it to tell the truth.

Mrs. Kopechne is quoted by "New Times" magazine as saying she also believes the Massachusetts Democrat was confused about the mishap when he made his first statements about it.

"He had poor advice, right from the time it happened. I think he got so involved in this lousy advice and then couldn't back out and tell the truth. He got deeper and deeper into it," Mrs. Kopechne is quoted as saying.

According to the interview, the Kopechnes say they believe their daughter, Mary Jo, was sleeping in the back seat of Kennedy's car when it ran off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island.

Mary Jo was a 28-year-old former campaign worker for Kennedy's brother, Robert, and had attended a party with a group of other persons on the small island adjoining Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on the night of July 18, 1969.

Kennedy's sworn statement is that he was returning to his hotel and taking Mary Jo back to hers when he made a wrong turn and accidentally drove off the bridge. He said he managed somehow to escape from the submerged car but was unable to rescue the girl.

Joseph Kopechne is quoted by the magazine as saying he and his wife rejected an autopsy later because "we were led to believe that the autopsy was primarily to find out if my daughter was pregnant."

(15) Anthony Ulasewicz, The President's Private Eye (1990)

I remained in the area until July 23. I had found a place to stay on Martha's Vineyard between Edgartown and Gay Head so I wouldn't have ' to run back and forth to Woods Hole. Before packing up and heading for home, I went to see John Farrar, the scuba diver who pulled Mary Jo Kopechne out of Kennedy's car. When I met him in his dive and tackle shop in Edgartown, he seemed anxious to talk. He gave me the feeling that he didn't think anyone except the press was really listening to what he had to say; that what he saw was starting to become a nightmare. When he entered the submerged vehicle, Farrar said, he saw the girl's head cocked back, her face pressed into the foot well, her hands gripping the front edge of the back seat, her body shaped for the struggle to get a last gasp of air. It appeared to him, Farrar said, that Kopechne had been trapped alive for several hours inside Kennedy's car.

(16) BBC report (26th August 2009)

On July 18 1969, he was at a party on the small Massachusetts island of Chappaquiddick with a group, including six women known as the boiler room girls, who had worked in his brother Robert's presidential campaign.

(Edward) Kennedy left the party, supposedly to drive his brother's former secretary, Mary Jo Kopechne, to catch the last ferry back to the mainland but, instead, the car turned onto a side road and crashed off a bridge into a tidal creek.

Kennedy pulled himself from the upturned car and, after swimming across a narrow creek, returned to his hotel without reporting the accident.

It was the following morning before local fishermen found the sunken car and discovered the body of Mary Jo Kopechne still inside.

Evidence given at the subsequent inquest suggested that she had probably remained alive in an air pocket for several hours and might well have been saved had the alarm been raised at the time.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, claiming that he had been in shock, and was given a two-month suspended jail sentence.

An inquest, held in secret at the request of Kennedy family lawyers, cast serious doubts on Kennedy's story, but no further action was taken.

This led to suspicions of a cover-up and the incident effectively ended any hopes Kennedy had of attaining the White House.

(17) The Daily Telegraph (26th August 2009)

All Teddy Kennedy’s ambitions, however, foundered on the events of the night of July 18 1969, when he left a party with Mary Jo Kopechne (who had worked on Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign the year before), and drove a big, black Oldsmobile off a rickety wooden bridge at Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, into an 8ft-deep tidal pool. He managed to escape — he could not remember how — but Mary Jo Kopechne was trapped in the car.

Kennedy, on his own account, “repeatedly dove down and tried to see if the passenger was still in the car”, but was unsuccessful. Rather than raise the alarm, however, he returned to the cottage where the party had been, slumped into a parked car, summoned two friends (both of them lawyers), and went back with them to the bridge, where they tried in vain to rescue Mary Jo Kopechne.

Although there was a pay-phone near the bridge, no one contacted the police. Instead, Kennedy swam back to the inn where he was lodged. At 2.25, some three hours after the accident, he emerged, dry and neatly dressed from his room, and asked the proprietor what time it was. Next morning, before breakfast at 8am, he was seen calmly reading a newspaper in the lobby of the inn.

He then returned to his room where he again met the two lawyers, and made several telephone calls. By the time he went to the police the car had already been found, with Mary Jo Kopechne dead inside it.

Kennedy himself later admitted that his behaviour was “inexplicable”, even while attempting to account for it by saying that he must have been in a state of shock, and a neuro-surgeon did indeed diagnose “concussion”. It could not but seem, however, that he had tried to save his own reputation before exhausting all means of saving Mary Jo Kopechne’s life.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and was given a two months’ suspended sentence. In a televised address to the people of Massachusetts that night, he admitted that his conduct had been “indefensible”. At the same time he denied rumours of being drunk or having “a private relationship” with Miss Kopechne. In a well-calculated display of repentance, he then asked voters to tell him if his behaviour had impaired his standing to such an extent that he should resign as senator.

The response was satisfactory enough to allow him to announce on July 30 that he would remain in office. In 1970 he was re-elected to the Senate. But he was never able completely to lay the ghost of Chappaquiddick.

(18) Joe Holley, Washington Post (27th August, 2009)

On July 18, 1969, Sen. Kennedy attended a small get-together of friends and former Robert Kennedy campaign workers on Chappaquiddick, an island off Martha's Vineyard. Late that night, his car ran off a narrow bridge and plunged into a tidal pool. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, one of the campaign workers, drowned.

Sen. Kennedy, who failed to report the incident for about nine hours, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident. He received a two-month suspended sentence and lost his driver's license for a year.

In a televised speech six days after Kopechne's death, he said that he had been overcome by such emotions as "fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion and shock." But speculation endured for years, altering his political fate.

(19) Evan Thomas, Newsweek (26th August 2009)

On a humid night in July 1969, Kennedy attended an informal barbecue with a few staffers and a half dozen "boiler-room girls," veterans of RFK's '68 campaign, on the island of Chappaquiddick, off Martha's Vineyard. Sometime around midnight, he slipped out with one of the young women, Mary Jo Kopechne, an earnest, devout, normally abstemious 28-year-old. As Kennedy drove, his car plummeted off a wooden bridge on the way to the beach (Kennedy claimed he was driving Kopechne to the ferry, in the opposite direction, and had made a wrong turn, a story that almost no one believed). Kennedy was able to struggle to the surface, but, diving back down in a fast current, he was unable to rescue Kopechne. For nine hours, Kennedy did not notify the police; rather, he lay in a motel room, wishing, he said later, that the whole thing would go away, like a bad dream. Once more, he had to go to his father with terrible news. "Dad, I'm in some trouble," he said. "There's been an accident, and you're going to hear all sorts of things about me from now on. Terrible things. But, Dad, I want you to know that they're not true. It was an accident."

The publicity was devastating. Rumors flew, some suggesting that if Kennedy had sought emergency help, Kopechne might have been saved (the diver who recovered her body said he believed that she had suffocated, not drowned, which suggested she had been clinging to life in an air pocket). Kennedy managed to avoid serious legal trouble, but an aide, flying over the scene of the incident, was seen looking down and overheard to say, "There goes the presidency."

(20) Martin F. Nolan, The Boston Globe (27th August 2009)

On July 18, 1969, Mansfield predicted that his colleague would not run for president in 1972, saying “He’s in no hurry. He’s young. He likes the Senate.’’

On that same day, Senator Kennedy arrived on an island that his actions would make notorious. On Chappaquiddick, across a narrow inlet from Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, six young women who had worked on Robert Kennedy’s campaign gathered for a reunion at a rented cottage. Senator Kennedy’s marriage was already troubled, and he had been seen in the company of other glamorous women. But the women at Chappaquiddick were all serious, professional political operatives.

Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, had worked for RFK’s Senate office. A passenger in a car driven by Ted Kennedy, she drowned after the car skidded off a bridge. Senator Kennedy failed to report the accident for 10 hours. The crash gave him a minor concussion and a major personal and political crisis.

As American astronauts walked on the moon, fulfilling a JFK pledge, Chappaquiddick was front-page news across the globe. The senator was unable to explain the accident for days. After consulting in Hyannis Port with his brothers’ advisers and speechwriters, he gave a televised speech a week later. He praised Kopechne and attacked “ugly speculation about her character,’’ wondered aloud “whether some awful curse did actually hang over the Kennedys,’’ then asked Massachusetts voters whether he should resign. They replied overwhelmingly: No.

His critics snarled that Senator Kennedy “got away with it’’ at Chappaquiddick, but the price he paid in personal grief was as high as the cost in presidential politics. During the Cold War, voters expected quick and cool judgment from presidents. Senator Kennedy, in effect, disqualified himself when he confessed on television that he should have alerted police immediately: “I was overcome, I’m frank to say, by a jumble of emotions: grief, fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion, and shock.’’

(21) Joyce Carol Oates, The Guardian (27th August 2009)

At Chappaquiddick, having been drinking and partying with young women aides of his brother Robert Kennedy, Senator Kennedy, at this time a married man and a father, slipped away with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, who was trapped in his car after he took a wrong turn off the Chappaquiddick bridge, lost control of his car which was submerged in just eight feet of water.

Kennedy chose to flee the scene , leaving the young woman to die an agonising death not of drowning but of suffocation over a period of hours. Incredibly, it was 10 hours before Kennedy reported the accident, by which time he'd consulted a family lawyer. The senator's explanation for this unconscionable, despicable, unmanly and inexplicable behaviour was never convincing: he claimed that he'd struck his head and was "confused" and "exhausted" from diving and trying to rescue the young woman and had gone home to bed.

There followed a media circus, as all of the world rushed to Chappaquiddick to expose Kennedy's behaviour and to speculate on his future. Yet, appealing to his lawyer and not rather seeking emergency help for the trapped Mary Jo Kopechne would seem, in retrospect, to have been a felicitous move.

If Kennedy had summoned aid, he would very likely have given police officers self-incriminating evidence, which might have involved charges of vehicular manslaughter or homicide. The local prosecutor was not nearly so outraged by Kennedy's behaviour as other prosecutors might have been: the charges were "failing to report an accident" and "leaving the scene of an accident." The punishment: two months' probation.

That the Kennedys had always been a family operating outside the perimeters of the sort of legal restrictions that bind other citizens to "moral" behaviour publicly, is well known; no occasion so exemplifies this than Chappaquiddick and the subsequent cooperative silence of the Kopechne family who agreed never to speak of the tragedy.

One is led to think of Tom and Daisy Buchanan of Fitzgerald's the Great Gatsby, rich individuals accustomed to behaving carelessly and allowing others to clean up after them. It is often in instances of the "fortunate fall", think of Joseph Conrad's anti-hero/hero Lord Jim as a classic literary analogy, that innocent individuals figure almost as ritual sacrifices is another aspect of the phenomenon.

Yet if one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?

The poet John Berryman once wondered: "Is wickedness soluble in art?". One might rephrase, in a vocabulary more suitable for our politicized era: "Is wickedness soluble in good deeds?"

This paradox lies at the heart of so much of public life: individuals of dubious character and cruel deeds may redeem themselves in selfless actions. Fidelity to a personal code of morality would seem to fade in significance as the public sphere, like an enormous sun, blinds us to all else.

(22) John Simkin, The Death of Mary Jo Kopechne (30th September, 2009)

There was a documentary on BBC 2 the other night on the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. The documentary included a filmed interview with Rosemary Keough, the only person at the party who has broken their vow of silence. However, her testimony was only concerned about the moral behaviour of the women at the party. She denied that Mary Jo or any of the other women were sexually involved with the Kennedys. However, she refused to say anything about the party. This vow of silence is one of the most interesting aspects of the case. Why, after all these years, are these people still not talking about what happened at the party?

The documentary also included an interview with Kennedy’s close friend, Dun Gifford. He was also unwilling to talk in any detail about Chappaquiddick. However, using the testimony of Kennedy family pilot, Wilfred Rock, Gifford reluctantly agreed that he and Kennedy had lied about the timing of events that night. It has always been clear that the car went into the water at a different time than the one put forward by Kennedy.

There is one major problem with the timings provided by Kennedy. At about 12.45 Kennedy's stationary car was seen at the intersection on Dike Road near the bridge by Christopher ‘Huck' Look, deputy sheriff and part-time police officer. Look claims that a man was driving and that two other people were in the car. Look approached the car on foot but when the driver saw his police uniform the car then sped off down Dike Road . The car had a Massachusetts registration letter L. It also had a 7 at the beginning and at the end. Only eight other cars of this type had this number plate. They were all later checked out. Kennedy's car was the only one with that number plate that was on the island that night.

Christopher ‘Huck' Look appears to be a convincing witness. There seems to be no reason why he should lie about what he saw on the morning of the 19th July, 1969. Therefore we have the situation where Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne left the Lawrence Cottage at around 11.15 p.m. For some reason Kennedy returns to the cottage at 12.20 a.m. However, it is not to report the accident as at this stage the car has not yet had the accident on Dike Bridge.

The most interesting aspect of the documentary concerned the re-enactment of the car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne. Car accident investigators unanimously agreed that Edward Kennedy’s testimony was clearly false. In fact, they argued persuasively that Kennedy would have been unable to escape from the car if it had crashed into the water in that way. They concluded that Kopechne was driving the car when it went off the bridge and that she was alone as no one else could have escaped from the vehicle.

Jim Arena, the Edgartown Chief of Police, claimed on camera that his investigation showed that Kennedy was not in the car when it went into the water. Lieutenant George Killen has already gone on record as saying something similar. He interviewed two friends of Kennedy, Ross Richards and Stan Moore, who met with him in his hotel just before 8 o'clock. They reported that he appeared to be acting in a relaxed way and did not appear to be under any stress. Soon afterwards, Paul Markham and Joe Gargan arrived at the hotel. According to Richards they were “soaking wet”. It was while talking to Markham and Gargan that Kennedy became visibly upset. Killen, who interviewed all those people who had contact with Kennedy that morning in the hotel, became convinced that it was at this stage that Kennedy first discovered that Mary Jo Kopechne was dead. Ross Richards also agreed with this analysis.

The solution to this puzzle in the documentary was very unconvincing. They used the theory of Lieutenant Bernie Flynn. He said: “Ted Kennedy wasn't in the car when it went off the bridge. He would never have gotten out alive.” Flynn was convinced that Kennedy had intended to have sex with Mary Jo in the car. He was drunk (evidence suppressed in court showed that Kennedy had consumed a great deal of alcohol that day). When Look approached Kennedy's car, he feared he would be arrested. Therefore he sped off into the darkness. Afraid that Look would catch him up he gets out of the car and persuades Mary Jo to drive off (she herself has consumed a fair amount of alcohol. Kennedy then walks back to the cottage. When Mary Jo does not return Kennedy becomes convinced she has had an accident. Kennedy then goes back to his hotel leaving Markham and Gargan to search for Mary Jo. It is not until the next morning they discover what has happened. They then go to Kennedy's hotel to tell him the news. This fits Lieutenant George Killen idea that Kennedy did not know about the accident until the morning meeting with Markham and Gargan.

I agree with part of Flynn’s theory. Especially, the part that claims that Kennedy did not find out about the accident until the following morning. However, if he had left the car because he was drunk, why didn’t admit to doing this when interviewed by the police? It would have been far less hurtful to his career than to admit that he left the scene of the accident without reporting it, therefore guaranteeing her death.

My own theory of what happened that night at Chappaquiddick includes the following: Mary Jo Kopechne worked as a secretary for George Smathers in 1963. She also shared an apartment with Nancy Carole Tyler, who worked for Bobby Baker. As a result, I suspect she had important information about the assassination of JFK. Like Grant Stockdale (Smathers’ business partner) she probably passed this information onto Robert and Edward Kennedy. However, for some reason, Robert did not do anything with this information and publicly claimed he agreed with the Warren Commission. Maybe the Kennedys told Mary Jo that they were biding their time. As I have said before, I think that the real motive was that they were trying to protect the reputation of the Kennedys. Robert no doubt thought that if he remained quiet he would become president in 1968. After gaining power he would then be in a safe position to reveal details about Operation Freedom. What we do know is that Mary Jo becomes Robert’s secretary after the assassination of JFK. Maybe this was done to keep an eye on her. He does not want her to talk about what she knows.

Robert Kennedy looks like he is going to become president until he is murdered on 4th June, 1968. Mary Jo now sees no reason for holding back this information. Edward Kennedy disagrees. Why? What do these people have on the Kennedys? Is Edward still playing the long game? He still believes the best way of becoming president is not to reveal this information. Does he tell the people responsible for the assassinations that he has taken out an insurance policy. That all the information the Kennedys have will be published if he is also murdered. Maybe a deal is done. Edward Kennedy will be allowed to become president in 1972 if he keeps quiet about what he knows about the deaths of his two brothers. In this way the reputations of his two brothers will remain untarnished.

If that is the case, Mary Jo has to be kept from talking. Edward is told to arrange a meeting with Mary Jo. Edward believes the idea is for Mary Jo to be frightened into not talking. However, the conspirators see it as an opportunity to prevent Edward from ever becoming president.

Edward leaves the party with Mary Jo and takes her by car to a place where she is to be “frightened”. Edward is then taken by boat to his hotel in Edgartown.

The conspirators then murder Mary Jo (drugged and then drowned). The car is driven at speed towards Dyke Road Bridge to provide the tyre markings that will implicate Kennedy in her death. Mary Jo is then placed in the passenger seat and the car which is then pushed off the Dyke Road Bridge.

This helps to explain Edward’s behaviour following the accident. In fact he does not know that Mary Jo is dead until he arrives back on Chappaquiddick Island the next morning. Edward Kennedy is allowed to live but will now never become president. Edward cannot tell now what he knows without disclosing his own role in the cover-up of JFK’s assassination and the death of Mary Jo. The best option for Edward is to go along with the story that he was driving the car.