The tabloid frenzy surrounding the unexplained death of one of Britain's richest women has crossed the Atlantic and come ashore on Hilton Head Island.
Media representatives from Great Britain and Sweden were on the island Wednesday seeking interviews with the dead woman's parents. Eva Rausing, born Eva Kemeny, is the daughter of former Pepsico executive Tom Kemeny and his wife, Nancy, who have had a home on the island since 1980.
The tale of the Rausings -- ultra-rich philanthropists with a history of drug abuse; one dead, the other hospitalized -- has dominated British headlines since Eva Rausing, 48, was found dead in her London home Monday.
On Wednesday, reporters shifted their focus here as they searched for details about the dead woman's upbringing and family. In England, investigators awaited the outcome of further tests to discover what killed the U.S.-born billionaire.
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Rausing's body was discovered at the couple's luxurious five-story mansion, and her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, was briefly arrested in connection with suspected drug crimes. He later checked in to a London hospital for treatment of an undisclosed illness.
Police said they want to question him about the circumstances surrounding his wife's death, and have not said whether foul play is suspected.
The Rausings were wealthy philanthropists who have both waged a long battle against drug addiction. They were arrested on drug charges in 2008 after Eva Rausing was caught trying to smuggle crack cocaine and heroin into the U.S. Embassy in London in her handbag.
Hans Rausing, 49, is an heir to the TetraPak fortune his father built as a globally successful manufacturer of laminated cardboard drink containers.
'NICE, REGULAR FOLKS'
Tom and Nancy Kemeny live in a 3,351-square-foot, two-story home inside Sea Pines. The house has an in-ground pool and a market value at slightly more than $1 million, according to Beaufort County property records.
The couple splits time between London and Barbados, according to friends and neighbors.
Eva Rausing's younger sister, Be Kemeny, who was once married to polo player Jack Kidd, also lives in a beach house on the island with her children.
In contrast to the high-society travails of their daughters, Tom and Nancy Kemeny lived what was apparently a low-key life, according to friends and neighbors.
Several Hilton Head residents were surprised Wednesday by phone calls from a wire service reporter seeking details about the couple. Calls by The Island Packet to about 15 government officials and long-time island residents revealed most did not know the couple.
Some neighbors, though, said they were shocked, and deeply saddened, to learn of the couple's loss.
"They're nice, regular folks," said Stanley Toll, who lives several houses down from the Kemenys' home. "They're sweet, friendly, lovely people, and I'm sorry for their loss."
A family friend and Hilton Head resident, who declined to be identified, said the Kemenys had been caring for Eva Rausing's four children.
Tom Kemeny, reached by cellphone, declined to comment on the death of his daughter. A statement from Kemeny family said her parents, "along with all of their family, are deeply saddened by the death of their beloved daughter."
They said she was "a devoted wife for 20 years and mother of four much loved and wonderful children."
The family acknowledged Eva Rausing's struggles, but "during her short lifetime she made a huge philanthropic impact, supporting a large number of charitable causes" and "bravely fought her health issues for many years."
Ths Rausings met while they were in rehab 25 years ago and came to support many causes, including some associated with fighting drug addiction.
"She was a lovely young woman -- very sophisticated," the family friend said. "And (the Kemenys) are fabulous people who are very down-to-earth, very private ... and are the best grandparents I know. What has happened is very sad."
Reporter Tom Barton, Reuters, The Associated Press and The New York Times contributed to this article.