HUNTLEIGH • It took more than 40 minutes for someone at the Busch family mansion to call 911 after the discovery Sunday afternoon of the deceased 27-year old girlfriend of former Anheuser-Busch chief executive August Busch IV, according to information from authorities.
Adrienne N. Martin was found dead Dec. 19 at the house at 12:30 p.m., the St. Louis County medical examiner's office said Friday. Emergency responders were notified at 1:12 p.m. of a reported "unresponsive person," according to Frontenac police, who have jurisdiction over the case. Paramedics pronounced Martin dead at 1:26 p.m.
It's unclear what time Martin died, but investigators were told she was last seen alive at 3:30 a.m., according to the medical examiner's office.
The death and its investigation has put the spotlight back on Busch, 46, who has remained largely out of the public eye since the sale of the brewery to Inbev two years ago. It also has brought renewed attention to his once-infamous image as a playboy whose love affair with good-looking women and fast cars previously led to tragic consequences.
Busch has remained silent publicly since the death, and police have declined to release much information so far. Frontenac police, who responded to the scene Sunday, did not disclose the death until Thursday afternoon — four days after it occurred and hours after the Post-Dispatch first reported it on its STLtoday.com website.
Art Margulis, a lawyer for Busch, said Busch and others were at the mansion when her death was discovered Sunday. Martin, a former Hooters waitress and aspiring beer advertising model, and Busch had been dating for a year, he said. Margulis said there was "absolutely nothing suspicious about her passing, and it's a tragic and untimely death of a young person." Busch and his wife divorced last year.
Martin, who recently lived in St. Charles, was working on a master's degree in art therapy counseling. She was divorced earlier this year and has an 8-year-old son with her ex-husband.
Martin's initial autopsy was inconclusive and didn't reveal signs of trauma to her body or any obvious natural causes of death, officials said. A cause of death ruling is expected following results from toxicology studies, which could take about six weeks.
A law enforcement source previously told the Post-Dispatch that the death was initially being investigated as a possible overdose. But Martin's ex-husband and some of her friends and co-workers say they don't believe it.
Dr. Kevin J. Martin, 45, who is a medical doctor who now lives in Cape Girardeau, Mo., said in an interview Friday that he does not know his ex-wife's cause of death but said that she had a heart condition called Long QT syndrome. The heart rhythm disorder can potentially cause fast, chaotic heartbeats that can, in some cases, cause sudden death.
Martin said he discovered the syndrome when he did an electrocardiogram on his wife shortly after they wed in 2002. He said that his wife didn't tell others of her condition and that he hasn't discussed it with authorities.
"She refused to see a cardiologist about it," Martin said. "I've always suspected she thought I was overreacting."
He and Adrienne Martin had been separated since February 2009, and their split was anything but amicable, according to their divorce file. They had joint custody of their son.
"We also both think the world of August," Kevin Martin said. "He is a good man."
Martin said he had met Busch "months ago" — and that Busch personally called him on Sunday to tell him of the death.
Martin said he was in Springfield, Mo., with his former in-laws visiting his son for the holidays. He said his son was in Springfield when Adrienne died.
Adrienne Martin's immediate family has declined to comment. The Busch family did not respond to inquiries at the house, in the 2800 block of South Lindbergh Boulevard.
Meanwhile, a memorial service for Martin, whose body has been cremated, will be held Dec. 30 in Springfield.
Adrienne Martin's former boss, Timothy Carlson, also questioned whether she could have overdosed.
"She was against drugs," he said.
In fact, her last project before quitting her job at MTO Clean in Wentzville on Dec. 3 was selecting a company to administer drug testing for his staff, said Carlson, the local franchise's president. MTO Clean is a home and commercial cleaning company.
Carlson said Martin was leaving her job as his assistant to work for a new company being formed in St. Louis. He said he didn't know its name.
"She was a fabulous worker," Carlson said.
HISTORY IN SPOTLIGHT
It's unclear how Martin met Busch, who has brought dramatic national headlines to the family name since his youth.
Busch took over as CEO of Anheuser-Busch in 2006, a position he held until the 2008 sale of A-B to InBev.
Anheuser-Busch InBev was to pay and provide for "personal security services" for Busch IV when he is in St. Louis, according to corporate filings. The unspecified security services were to be provided from 2008 through the end of 2011.
An Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman declined to comment on the incident or whether the security detail was at Busch's home when Martin was found dead.
Busch is a nonexecutive director of Anheuser-Busch InBev and is still being paid $120,000 a month plus other compensation for his role as a company consultant through 2014. He also is provided an office and support staff at A-B's St. Louis headquarters.
Busch had various run-ins with the law when he was young. In 1984, he avoided criminal charges after a car crash in Arizona that killed a 22-year-old woman.
In 1983, Busch, 20 at the time and a student at the University of Arizona, left a bar with the woman and, shortly after, crashed his black Corvette, police said. The woman, Michele Frederick, was thrown from the car and killed. Busch was found six hours later at his home, dazed and bloodied. He had suffered a fractured skull and claimed he had amnesia.
Busch avoided prosecution.
In 1985, he was charged with third-degree assault after a high-speed police chase in St. Louis that ended when police shot out a tire on his silver Mercedes-Benz.
Undercover narcotics detectives began chasing Busch after his speeding car almost hit their vehicle, police said. Their car was unmarked. After chasing the car and shooting out the left rear tire, police found a .38-caliber revolver in the back seat.
Busch was accused of nearly running down two of the undercover detectives who tried to approach the Mercedes.
Busch said he thought he was fleeing from potential kidnappers and did not realize that the men, working undercover with long hair and beards, were police officers. He was later acquitted by a jury of three counts of assault.
Todd C. Frankel of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.