Mary Kennedy's Body Dug Up, Moved From Relatives on RFK's Orders

Mary Richardson Kennedy's Body Left in Unmarked Grave

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  • Mary Kennedy
    (Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
    Robert Kennedy Jr., his wife Mary and their children arrive to attend a Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights gala in New York November 19, 2008.
By Daniel Distant, Christian Post Reporter
July 13, 2012|9:32 am

Mary Kennedy's body was moved from her place with the rest of the Kennedy clan to a spot 700 feet from them in the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. ordered her grave exhumed and moved to a hilltop on the other side of the Centerville, Mass. cemetery.

Mary Kennedy's body being moved came as a surprise to her siblings, who were uninformed of RFK's plans. Their bitter battle to have her buried in Westchester- closer to her children's home for most of the year- began with her suicide two months ago. They lost in court, though, giving her husband the right to do with her body what he wished.

"We were unaware of this," Patricia Hennessey, the Richardson siblings' lawyer for the case over Mary Kennedy's body, told The New York Daily News. "And we were not informed about it."

Peter Bienstock, another lawyer for the Richardson family, agreed that the moving of Mary Richardson Kennedy's body could upset the family- especially after the legal battle ended with an agreement on where she would be buried.

"The original site was negotiated in the courthouse pretty specifically. The [Richardson] family was very concerned with access. There was a lot of discussion about precisely where it would be," the attorney told Newsday. "The Richardsons weren't asked. The Richardsons weren't informed. The reasons [RFK Jr.] did it are known only to him."

Frank Maki, the gravedigger in charge of the operation at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, shed some light on RFK's motive: he claims Mary Kennedy's body's move is part of a plan to purchase 50 plots of new land there.

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"[Robert] didn't realize how crowded the area was until after the funeral, and he wanted to have the ability to lay his wife to rest among her family members," Maki told The New York Daily News. "He opted for an area of the cemetery where there is room for future expansion."

The current plot where Mary lays seems far from expansion, however. Her body is marked by a "sickly oak tree," reports the Daily News, as well as small statue of the Virgin Mary and several U.S. flags. She has no tombstone or marker.

Local officials also claim RFK did not file the necessary paperwork for the exhumation, according to Daily Mail.

Mary Kennedy was found in May in her Bedford, Westchester County barn, where she had hanged herself. Before her death, RFK had claimed that she abused him, ran over the family dog, and was an alcoholic- something her family has called "vindictive lies."

Despite the tragic events surrounded the death and exhumation of Mary Kennedy, RFK Jr. has already moved on. He was spotted dating "Curb Your Enthusiasm" actress Cheryl Hines at a Cape Cod wedding recently, according to the NY Daily News.

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