HUNTLEIGH, Mo. — An aspiring model who died at the home of former Anheuser-Busch chief executive August Busch IV had a rare heart condition, according to her ex-husband.
Adrienne Martin, 27, was found dead at Busch’s suburban St. Louis home on Dec. 19. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Saturday that Dr. Kevin Martin, a doctor of osteopathy who practices in Cape Girardeau, said he diagnosed his then-wife with a heart rhythm disorder in 2002, just after they married.
Kevin Martin said his wife didn’t tell others about her condition, called Long QT syndrome, and he hadn’t talked to authorities about it.
"She refused to see a cardiologist about it," Martin said. "I’ve always suspected she thought I was overreacting."
The newspaper also reported that it took someone at Busch’s mansion more than 40 minutes to call 911 after Adrienne Martin was found dead at 12:30 p.m., according to the St. Louis County medical examiner’s office.
Busch, 46, hasn’t commented publicly about Martin’s death. Frontenac police, who responded to the scene, did not disclose her death until four days later — after the newspaper reported it on its website, STLtoday.com.
Busch’s lawyer, Art Margulis, said Busch and others were at the mansion when Martin’s body was discovered. The attorney said Martin was Busch’s girlfriend and there was "absolutely nothing suspicious about her passing, and it’s a tragic and untimely death of a young person."
Officials said an initial autopsy was inconclusive and didn’t reveal signs of trauma to her body or obvious natural causes of death. A ruling stating the cause of death is expected after results of toxicology tests come back. That could take up to six weeks.
St. Louis County forensic administrator Suzanne McCune had said there were no signs of trauma or illness, and an overdose was among the possible causes of death.
"She was against drugs," said Timothy Carlson, who until earlier this month employed Martin as his assistant.
Carlson, president of the local MTO Clean franchise, said one of the last tasks she performed before leaving the job was selecting a company to administer drug testing for Carlson’s staff at the home and commercial cleaning company.
Martin was a former Hooters waitress and aspiring beer advertising model who was working on her master’s degree in art therapy counseling. She and Kevin Martin, who divorced earlier this year, have an 8-year-old son who was with relatives in Springfield on the day she died.
Kevin Martin said he met Busch "months ago," and that Busch called him Dec. 19 to tell him about the death.
"We also both think the world of August," Martin said. "He is a good man."
Adrienne Martin’s body has been cremated, and a memorial service is planned for Thursday in Springfield.
When Busch took over as chief executive of the family business in 2006, Anheuser-Busch Cos. owned roughly half the U.S. beer market thanks to its Budweiser and Bud Light brands. Two years later, the business was sold to Belgian company InBev in a $52 billion deal that created the world’s largest brewer.
Busch is a member of the InBev board but has no role in day-to-day operations.
In 1983, Busch, then a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, left a bar near Tucson, Ariz., with a 22-year-old woman. His black Corvette crashed, and the woman, Michele Frederick, was killed. Busch was found hours later at his home. He suffered a fractured skull and claimed he had amnesia. After a seven-month investigation, authorities declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence.
Two years later, Busch was acquitted on assault charges resulting from a police chase that ended with an officer shooting out a tire on his Mercedes-Benz.