William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Saturday, 18, July, 2009

Mary Jo Kopechne

Filed under: People who need pianos dropped on them,Social Commentary,Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 18:00

26-VII-1940, 18-VII-1969.  kopechne-enl A RFK campaign staffer, she made the mistake of leaving a party on Chappaquiddick with Edward Kennedy.   Mr. Kennedy was driving, he drove off the road and into the waters.  Mr. Kennedy got out of the car, leaving it upside down in the water.  Ms. Kopechne drowned.  No autopsy was performed.  Mr. Kennedy went back to his lodgings, and went to bed, calling the police in the morning.

I know times were different.  Cell phones were not ubiquitous.  Teddy had to leave the scene to get help.  I blame him, though, for not getting help right away.  Going to bed and waiting ’till morning?   That behaviour makes me suspicious that he was waiting to metabolize…something.  There are also inconsistencies in Mr. Kennedy’s statements (see here)

And standard forensic practice would dictate an autopsy on Ms. Kopechne.  The case has a strong possibilty of going to both civil court and criminal court.  Ms. Kopechne’s fate would be known, and that, I hope, would quell the worst suspicious speculation.

The sad part, and one I have noticed in the before, is that the dead are so quickly forgotten.  Even in the legal system, this case would be referred to as “The Kennedy Case”, instead of “The Kopechne Case.”   Victims are not around and get forgotten.

I also do not understand how people are able to integrate responsibility for tragedy into their personalities.   I’ve known police officers who have killed in the line of duty.  Righteous shootings of people who were putting the public at risk.   Train drivers who have hit people on the tracks, as well as truck drivers.  People to whom no blame can be attached.  These folks are not the same afterwords.  It may make them introspective, it may make them unhappy.

I have met others who have killed from carelessness, and I perceive no bad feelings on their part.  I’m not sure what causes this.  It seems to be useful in some professions.



  1. It is, I believe, the difference between having a conscience and not…Kennedy obviously does not. He is a political animal, his only god (small g) is power.

    Comment by Old NFO — Monday, 20, July, 2009 @ 20:01 | Reply

  2. What an appalling story, and an appalling thins to do. Ugh, politicians.

    Comment by red rabbit — Monday, 27, July, 2009 @ 13:09 | Reply

  3. Drunk or not He left her to die. The only thing that saved him was his family name.

    Comment by nickl — Wednesday, 12, August, 2009 @ 15:26 | Reply

  4. the whole case stank of rich money coverups. At the least he should have been charged with manslaughter for not reporting that she was in the car and leaving her for 7 hours while he SLEPT IT OFF.

    Comment by John Smith — Wednesday, 26, August, 2009 @ 22:08 | Reply

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