Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, received a suspended sentence, and faced no further charges. But Chappaquiddick haunted him for the rest of his political career.
Kopechne was from Forty Fort, Luzerne County, the only child of an insurance salesman and a homemaker. Joseph Kopechne, 90, died in an East Stroudsburg nursing home in 2003. Gwen Kopechne, 89, died in 2007 at a nursing home in Plains Township.
A graduate of Caldwell College for Women in New Jersey, Mary Jo Kopechne worked as a secretary in Washington, where her employers had included Sen. Robert Kennedy. The night of her death, she had attended a party with several other women who had worked for the Kennedys. Edward Kennedy, who attended the party, had offered to drive Kopechne back to her motel on Martha's Vineyard.
In a 1994 interview, Joseph and Gwen Kopechne said they had never received a direct apology from him, though other Kennedy family members had written them letters.
After their daughter's death, the Kopechnes received a $141,000 settlement from Kennedy's insurance company and moved to a new home in Swiftwater, Pa. They denied using Kennedy's money to build the home.
And when Gwen Kopechne died in 2007, there was no mention at her funeral of the Massachusetts senator.
Contact staff writer Larry King
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