Ted Kennedy couldn't bring himself to confess to the family of the woman he killed in a car accident how she died.
A new biography "Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died" reveals the longtime senator has been tormented by guilt for more than four decades and visited the parents of Mary Jo Kopechne twice after her death but could never speak of how she died, the New York Daily News reported.
"Ted had us come to his house in McLean [Va.], saying he wanted to talk," Mary Jo's late mother Gwen said in the book. "But [the visit] was uncomfortable -- for all of us."
"Ted led us to believe he was going to explain what really happened. But when the time came, after plenty of small talk, he said he just couldn't talk about it," she said. "It was very puzzling. Twice we drove all the way down there [from Pennsylvania] and twice he couldn't talk about how our daughter died."
The book out today by Edward Klein details Kennedy's anguish over the night he drove off a bridge in Chappaquiddick on Martha's Vineyard and swam to shore -- leaving Mary Jo in the car to drown, the News reported.
He left the scene of the accident on July 18, 1969, and reported it the following day.
Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and was given a suspended sentence of two months in jail.
"I'll never forget [Bobby Kennedy's widow, Ethel's] words," Gwen said. "She said, 'God has a plan for us all, and Mary Jo is in her rightful place in heaven."
Mary Jo's mother also said in the book that Ted's son, Teddy Jr., would often send them letters, in which she found great comfort.
"Young Teddy Jr. wrote us several letters over the years. He was just a little boy at the time, but they were very heartfelt and honest. He wrote that he had met Mary Jo and had liked her very much. He said she had always paid attention to him, even though he was a little boy surrounded by busy adults, who usually ignored him."