Worldwide ENQUIRER bombshell exclusive: Ted Kennedy made a secret visit to the grave of Mary Jo Kopechne before his death.
The Chappaquiddick accident, July 18, 1969, derailed Teddy’s presidential hopes and earned him the undying hatred of the Kopechne family, yet the late Lion of the Senate quietly visited Mary Jo’s Pennsylvania grave this past November.
In his final Thanksgiving celebration with his family, the Last Son of Camelot expressed deep regret over the Mary Jo tragedy.
Only days before the holiday break, Ted made a very special trip to visit the parish cemetery of St. Vincent’s Roman Catholic Church in Plymouth, Pa., where Mary Jo was buried July 22, 1969.
"Ted knows his days are numbered and has been wrestling with making this difficult trip," a family source told The ENQUIRER in November. "While Mary Jo’s parents were alive, because of the bad blood that existed, Ted avoided going.
"But it’s something that’s been weighing heavily on his mind since being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last year, and he decided to make the spur-of-the-moment visit.
"It was an emotionally overwhelming experience for him to finally be standing in front of her grave on a windswept and cold Pennsylvania afternoon.
"Close family members knew what the trip represented – he’s obviously trying to repent and clear his conscience before his time is up."
The mystery-shrouded accident happened 14 years before Ted divorced his first wife Joan.
She was pregnant at the time, and Ted had attended a boozy private party on Chappaquiddick, a small island adjoining Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and left with 28-year-old Kopechne around 11:30 that night.
Instead of heading to the ferry slip, Ted turned down a dirt road to a beach, and his car ran off a wooden bridge and into a pond.
The vehicle landed upside down in eight feet of water. Ted managed to escape, and later said he tried to dive down repeatedly to save his companion.
Shockingly, Kennedy did not report the accident to authorities until the following day.
"Ted never told them all the details," the family source revealed. "But when he was finally standing before Mary Jo’s grave, it was incredibly devastating for him. Ted later recounted how he wiped away tears as he said a silent prayer for Mary Jo and her parents.
"It was clear that the awful memories of that night came flooding back to him and reminded him of the questions he was still trying to sort out years later," the family source divulged.