"Book: Ted Kennedy could not find the words to confess in meeting with Mary Jo Kopechne's parents
In "Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died" - out today - author Edward Klein reveals that Ted visited with Mary Jo's parents twice following her death, but could never find the words to confess how the 28-year-old died.
"Ted had us come to his house in McLean [Va.], saying he wanted to talk," Mary Jo's now-deceased mother, Gwen, told Klein. "But [the visit] was uncomfortable - for all of us. Ted led us to believe he was going to explain what really happened. But when the time came, after plenty of small talk, he said he just couldn't talk about it. It was very puzzling. Twice we drove all the way down there [from Pennsylvania], and twice he couldn't talk about how our daughter died."
Mary Jo Kopechne was killed on July 18, 1969, when Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Martha's Vineyard's Chappaquiddick Island. Although the senator swam to safety, his passenger, Mary Jo, drowned in the car. Kennedy left the scene and didn't contact authorities until the following day. He eventually pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence of two months in jail.
Klein writes of the incident, "The burden of guilt sat on Ted's chest like an anvil. He desperately wanted to relieve himself of the guilt, but in the end, he couldn't find the words to express his feelings. And, in fact, he would never find expiation for his guilt.""