On the morning of July 19, 1969, two fisherman saw a glint of metal from their boat, and as they passed over the water of Poucha Pond, they saw rear tires just above the water’s surface. When police and firefighters arrived, they dove into the pond to try and extricate the car from the water. That’s when they discovered the body of a young woman in the back seat. And when they ran the plates, they could not believe to whom the car belonged.
From People Magazine and Cadence13 comes “Cover-Up,” yet another chapter in the Kennedy’s arduous history that has become deeply ingrained in the American landscape. Liz McNeil hosts the podcast in which Ted Kennedy’s fatal car crash over Dike Bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, left his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, dead. Follow McNeil as she interviews the people involved, friends, families, investigators and first responders, to see if this was truly a horrific accident, or a political cover-up that’s left us without answers for 50 years.
Ted was the youngest of the nine Kennedy children, and already four of them had died. The eldest, Joseph Jr. in an Army plane crash in 1944, Kathleen in a private plane crash in 1948, John by assassination in 1963, and Robert again by assassination in 1968. The Kennedy’s knew tragedy. Despite all of this, they were a powerful and prominent political family, serving as (obviously) President, Senators and Democratic aides and Cabinet members.
There’s a body in the car
So when this scandal broke, it was huge. “Cover-Up” starts us at the morning of the crash when Mary Jo’s body is removed from the car. The first responders are quick to cross any Kennedy women off the list of who this could be. The man who dove down and removed her body from the car recounts the gruesome state of her body, having never seen a drowning victim before. But the man who owned the wrecking business and pulled Ted’s car out of the water had seen the bodies of people who had drowned, and this body was different. He remembers that her lungs were not filled with water, unlike other victims of the current he had seen before. And this became a huge point of contention in the case against Ted.
And where is Ted in all this, we ask? He hadn’t contacted authorities that night about his car or passenger, despite the houses he had walked by on the way to the cottage he was renting with his cousin. He did not contact authorities the next morning either. Instead, he waited for the police to call him about his car found submerged in the pond. And he shocked police by admitting he knew his car was in the water, and he knew the name of the woman who had drowned in it.
Calamity or conspiracy?
“Cover-Up” tells the story of Ted Kennedy’s mysterious car accident. The Presidential hopeful saw his chances fade away as the story of that night continued to unravel. Was it truly an accident? Why didn’t he call police? And why was the investigation into the Chappaquiddick accident shrouded in threats, fear, and intimidation? And why was Ted so quick to blame “The Kennedy Curse,” a belief he made up himself?
Hear from family members of 28-year old Mary Jo Kopechne, the people who first saw the accident, and the people who investigated it who never got all of their questions answered. In seven episodes, you’ll hear what really happened that fatal night, and probably end up with a few questions of your own.