POLITICS
07/11/2012 03:19 pm ET

Mary Kennedy Suicide Mystery: Did She Change Her Mind In Last Seconds?

No one will ever know if Mary Kennedy had second thoughts about committing suicide but graphic details from a newly released autopsy report suggest she may have tried to stop the noose around her neck from strangling the life out of her.

The estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was found dead in a barn on the family's Bedford, N.Y., property on May 16. Her apparent suicide was widely seen as the latest tragedy to befall the political dynasty.

Mary Kennedy's death now appears even more tragic. According to the New York Daily News an autopsy revealed that her fingers were wedged between the hangman's knot and her neck.

“The fingers from both of (Mary’s) hands were between the rope and the neck,” Westchester County Medical Examiner Dr. Kunjlata Ashar wrote in an email to the newspaper. “The fingernails were cyanotic (blue) because of compression of the fingers, as they were between the rope and the neck.”

Asked if Kennedy, who was in the midst of a bitter divorce, may have had visions of her four children and decided at the last moment not to go through with it, Ashar said, “The fingers caught in the noose may suggest that she was trying to place the rope around her neck.”

The News shared the 11-page autopsy report -- which showed normal levels of antidepressants in her blood -- with two prominent medical examiners and asked for their interpretation.

Michael Baden, another former New York City medical examiner who has testified in high-profile cases, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, said she would have just 10 seconds before passing out. He told the News that he couldn't rule out that Mary, who had researched how to make a noose and had threatened suicide in the past, hadn't made a last, frantic attempt to save her life.

“This does look like a suicidal hanging," Baden said, "but someone putting their hands under the rope is seen only rarely."

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