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Busch IV talks about death of girlfriend, his depression

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Busch IV talks about death of girlfriend, his depression
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August Busch IV and Adrienne Martin

handout photo August Busch IV and Adrienne Martin. Ms. Martin was found dead Dec. 19, 2010, inside the Busch home in the 2800 block of South Lindbergh in Huntleigh. Handout photo

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  • August Busch IV and Adrienne Martin
  • Adrienne Martin

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UPDATED AT 1:53 p.m., with interview of Adrienne Martin's mother:

Adrienne Martin's mother says she doesn't blame August Busch IV for her daughter's death and that she knew the two loved each other.

Christine Trampler, in a telephone interview Tuesday, said her daughter suffered from insomnia throughout much of her life. Trampler said her daughter had been taking Trazodone, a drug prescribed by a doctor. Busch has speculated whether the medication had something to do with the death of Martin, his girlfriend (see story on Busch interview below).

"After she died I found out her doctor had recently increased the dosage," said Trampler, of Springfield, Mo. "I don't think it was a good idea. She's so tiny."

Martin, 27, was found dead on Dec. 19 in the Huntleigh home of Busch. Toxicology results could take a few weeks.

Trampler said she's been in contact with the St. Louis County medical examiner's office but still has no idea what caused her daughter's death. There was no trauma to Martin's body, police have said.

"I don't know if she took two Trazodones, or if it's something else," Trampler said. "This is about more than toxicology. We're waiting on tissue samples, blood samples, urine samples."

Trampler said her daughter took a helicopter ride with Busch the day before she died.

"She sent me pictures of herself in the helicopter and put one on Facebook," Trampler said. "It's her last picture."

Trampler said she last talked to her daughter about 8:30 p.m. that night.

"She was just exhausted," Trampler said. "I told her, 'You need to get in bed.' "

Trampler added, "There's a situation that caused her not to sleep," but wouldn't elaborate. She did say, however, that it had nothing to do with Busch.

Trampler said Busch called her about five minutes after authorities pronounced Martin dead on the afternoon of Dec. 19.

"He was distraught," she said. "I asked a million questions."

Martin was cremated five days later.

"It's what she wanted," Trampler said. "The coroner released her body to me. August didn't even know she was being cremated."

Busch and her daugther had met through a mutual friend, Trampler said.

"I heard his reputation and wasn't thrilled," Trampler said. "I know he has a lot of money, I know his last name. But they're just normal people."

Trampler said her daughter helped Busch battle his depression following the 2008 sale of Anheuser-Busch to InBev.

"His whole purpose in life was to take over that business, and he had it yanked out from under him," Trampler said.

 

OUR PREVIOUS STORY:

August Busch IV says the death of his girlfriend, Adrienne Martin, has him back on the brink of a towering depression that has plagued him for the last two years and that sleeping in the bed where she was found is "too eerie."

In an interview Monday with the Post-Dispatch, his first public comments since Martin's death, Busch said he "loved this girl with every ounce of my heart." He talked about how close he was to Martin, his fondness for her 8-year-old son and his devastation at finding her dead in his Huntleigh home on Dec. 19.

"I went to serve her breakfast in bed, and I couldn't wake her up," he said. "It's the saddest thing I've ever dealt with."

Busch, 46, said he did not know what caused Martin's death, speculating that it might have something to do with medication she had been taking. He also claimed that 911 was alerted immediately, disputing a contention that there was a 42-minute gap before a house employee, Michael Jung, called paramedics.

"Whatever time it was, I stayed there with her, and he immediately called 911," Busch said. "It was 30 seconds. We were panicky. To me, she felt kind of warm."

The death of Martin, 27, comes in the wake of the sale of Anheuser-Busch, which he led as chief executive, to Belgian brewer InBev — a move that threw him into the depression with which he still struggles.

"I would have given up my life to save the company," Busch said, "but I couldn't do anything."

After working for years at Anheuser-Busch with the expectation that he would succeed his father as head of the company, Busch took the reins in 2006. But less than two years later, the company — with the approval of his father and the board — was sold to InBev. The sale aggravated an already rocky relationship between father and son.

It also drove the younger Busch out of the public eye. He stopped attending beer industry events, and in January 2009, he divorced his wife of 2½ years.

In the interview with the Post-Dispatch, Busch said he had been in rehabilitation early in 2010 for depression and "my other issues." He would not elaborate. But he described the relationship with Martin and her son as a saving grace.

"I've been through some pretty bad times the past two years, and she was always by my side," he said.

'I TRIED TO WAKE HER'

A cause of death for Martin will be decided after results from toxicology tests, which could take about a month. An initial autopsy was inconclusive and didn't reveal signs of trauma.

The St. Louis County medical examiner's office has said its investigator was told at the Busch mansion, on South Lindbergh Boulevard, that Martin was found dead at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 19.

Jung, the employee at the house, called 911 at 1:12 p.m. to report there was a woman who wouldn't wake up, according to police. Paramedics pronounced Martin dead at 1:26 p.m.

Busch said he has not followed news reports and was unaware of talk about a 42-minute gap, adding there was no delay.

"Probably about 11 (a.m.), I got up. Both of us, I thought, were sleeping," he said. "I went to the kitchen to make her a special shake. I came back and tried to wake her up, and I couldn't. I checked for a pulse, and then I called Mike (Jung) and he checked, too."

Busch said the cause of death was a mystery but pointed out that Martin's ex-husband had told him Adrienne was taking "Trazodone, a sleep medication." The ex-husband, Kevin J. Martin, 45, is an osteopathic physician who lives in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and the father of Adrienne's son.

Trazodone is a prescription drug used to treat depression but also sometimes used to treat insomnia, according to the National Institutes of Health. The dosage should be closely monitored by a physician.

Busch said Adrienne Martin may have taken too many Trazodones "for some reason." But he ruled out the possibility that she intentionally overdosed on the medication.

"No way," he said. "She was so excited. Things were going good. She had a new job starting in January, and she was getting a new apartment."

Martin worked at MTO Clean in Wentzville but had landed a new job as an assistant with Pluvius, a small alternative energy company in Ballwin.

Kevin Martin, in an interview Monday, offered a different version of events. He said that it was Busch who told him Adrienne was taking the Trazodone, and that he "was surprised" because he discovered she had a heart condition — Long QT syndrome — in a test he administered in 2002. The syndrome can potentially cause fast, chaotic heartbeats.

Kevin Martin said when someone has a heart condition, "you can't take Trazodone."

He also said that his ex-wife was going to a local health center for stress and exhaustion, that she was working long hours and not getting much sleep.

NO WOMAN 'ON THE SIDE'

On the day before Martin died, Busch said, he took Adrienne Martin "for her first and her last helicopter ride." The ride on Dec. 18 was "just for fun because she had never been in a helicopter before. I just bought a helicopter because I'm going to start flying helicopters again."

The relationship with Martin was so strong, he said, that it led him to change his playboy ways.

"She was the only girl I've ever been with that I didn't want to have someone on the side," Busch said. "You know, I'm this notorious bachelor who always wanted someone on the side, but I didn't with Adrienne."

He said five of his eight dogs routinely slept in the same bed with him and Martin. The five are Shih Tzus, the smallest of the gaggle of pooches. Since Martin's death, Busch has encouraged all eight of the dogs to sleep on her side of the bed.

On Dec. 30, the day of Martin's funeral, Busch said he "couldn't get out of bed."

In recent months, Busch said, he had grown close to Martin's son, Blake, 8. Adrienne and Kevin shared custody of the child.

"Her son stayed with me more than half the time," Busch said. "I was falling in love with the kid. He's the cutest little kid you've ever seen in your life. I've never spent much time around kids that age before. They don't care who you are or what you have. They just accept you the way you are."

Busch said that he plans to help Blake as he grows older and that he had already set up a college fund for the boy.

Kevin Martin was bringing Blake to visit Busch on Monday night, and Busch said he had gotten the child a couple of Lego sets. He added that Blake worried about him on Friday, fearing Busch may have been swept up in one of the tornadoes that barreled through the region.

Busch said that he had not met Martin's mother, Christine Trampler of Springfield, Mo., prior to the death but that he had since grown close to her.

"I talk to her mom every day for a couple of hours, and it's the only thing that makes me feel better," he said. "Her mom is exactly the way Adrienne was — stubborn — and talking to her is a lot like talking to Adrienne."

In regard to his relationship with InBev, on whose board of directors he serves, Busch said the company had been "wonderful" to him. "They're helping me through this," he noted.

He acknowledged that InBev had been tough during the negotiations to take over Anheuser-Busch but chalked it up to business. "They're ruthless cost-cutters, but that's what they do," he said.

The sale earned Busch about $100 million, and he started collecting about $120,000 a month as a consultant. He also got a personal security detail and free access to events sponsored by A-B.

He quipped, "I wish I would have bought some more stock when the deal went down."

Martin's death has prompted Busch to get in touch with people he hasn't spoken to in some time — to say "I love them."

He maintains a good relationship with his ex-wife, Kate Thatcher of Fairlee, Vt., saying she plans to visit him in 10 days.

"Dad and I are talking, which is good," he said, referring to August Busch III, with whom he has long had strained relations. "I love you, that's what I told him. I love you from the bottom of my heart."

When asked what his father's response had been, Busch said his dad told him, "I love you, too."

He added that his father told him to get counseling to help cope with the grief of Martin's death.

"I don't know if individual counseling is the way to go or something else," he said. "I've got to figure something out. I can't let this take me down."

Nicholas J.C. Pistor of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 www.STLtoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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