A woman who has accused a nephew of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy of rape is the stepdaughter of a millionaire industrialist and a patron of upscale clubs here, friends and acquaintances said Wednesday.

But the 29-year-old woman has been in hiding since March 30 when she told police that William Kennedy Smith raped her at the Kennedy family's seaside estate in this winter community favored by the rich and powerful.The woman has been identified by several news organizations, including the New York Times and NBC television.

She was spotted by a journalist Tuesday at a grocery store in exclusive Jupiter but refused to answer questions and fled in her black Mazda RX-7 convertible.

She is the mother of a 2-year-old girl and is the stepdaughter of a former chairman of General Tire and Rubber Co. who retired to Florida and purchased a $161,800 home for her more than a year ago.

Friends of the woman said she is known to jet-setters in Palm Beach and is a popular figure in chic bars and clubs.

Friends said the woman enjoyed dancing and she was introduced to Smith, Edward Kennedy and his son, Patrick, at "Au Bar" and chatted with them for some time. They were just a few feet away from where Ivana Trump, estranged wife of New York developer Donald Trump, was holding court.

Neighbors of the woman said she does not socialize with residents of the exclusive development in Jupiter, Fla., an affluent community near Palm Beach where actor Burt Reynolds has a home.

"I think I've seen her walking with her baby about six times since she moved in. She's very quiet," said neighbor Stanley Haber.