UPDATE: (4/9/20, 10:00 A.M. ET): The body of eight-year-old Gideon McKean was found on April 8, just 2000 feet away from where his mother, Maeve’s body was discovered two days prior, authorities confirmed. The tragic discovery comes six days after the mother and son went missing after launching a canoe into the choppy waters of the Chesapeake Bay to retrieve a lost ball. Both Gideon and Maeve’s bodies were about 2.5 miles away from where they set out in their canoe.
UPDATE: (4/6/20, 9:22 P.M. ET): The body of Maeve was found around 5:31 p.m. on Apr. 6, four days after the search to find her and her missing son, Gideon after their Apr. 2 canoe accident began, authorities said, according to People. The location of her body was about 2.5 miles away from her mother’s waterfront property in Shady Side, Maryland, where she was staying before the accident, Maryland National Resources Police said in a press release obtained by People, and it was found in about 25 feet of water. The search for Gideon will continue on Apr. 7, the outlet further reported.
Robert F. Kennedy‘s granddaughter Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her 8-year-old son Gideon have “passed away” Maeve’s husband David McKean confirmed on Facebook. The pair were were reported missing following a canoeing accident in Chesapeake Bay on April 2, and an intensive search began shortly after. “Despite heroic efforts by the Coast Guard and many state and local authorities, the decision has now been made to suspend the active rescue effort,” David wrote in his lengthy Instagram post. “The search that began yesterday afternoon went on throughout the night and continued all day today. It is now dark again. It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small.” David went on to confirm that a recovery search for their bodies will continue.
David went onto explain what he and the family knew so far about the tragic accident. “Gideon and Maeve were playing kickball by the small, shallow cove behind the house, and one of them kicked the ball into the water. The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake,” he wrote. “They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay. About 30 minutes later they were spotted by an onlooker from land, who saw them far out from shore, and called the police. After that last sighting, they were not seen again. The Coast Guard recovered their canoe, which was capsized and miles away, at approximately 6:30 yesterday evening,” he confirmed.
The couple and their children resided in Washington, D.C., but decided to quarantine at Maeve’s mother’s home in Chesapeake Bay amidst the COVID-19 criss. “[We were] hoping to give our kids more space than we have at home in DC to run around,” the dad-of-there wrote. In addition the late Gideon, 8, Maeve and David are also parents to daughter Gabriella, 7, and son Toby, 2.
“Maeve turned 40 in November, and she was my everything. She was my best friend and my soulmate,” her grieving husband wrote, describing her as “the brightest light I have ever known.” He went onto remember his son as “deeply compassionate, declining to sing children’s songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly.”
Maeve’s uncle, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 66, took to social media to mourn his niece. “Tonight,the Coast Guard informed our family that It has terminated rescue operations. The search for remains continues. Rest In Peace Maeve and Gideon,” he wrote, captioning a sweet photo of Maeve, David, Gideon and Gabriella.
Though not named, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources also issued a statement about the accident. “[They] appeared to be overtaken by the strong winds. The missing individuals are a 40-year-old female and an eight-year-old male, both of Washington D.C. The preliminary investigation revealed that the pair may have been paddling the canoe from a residence in Shady Side, MD out into the bay to retrieve a ball and were unable to paddle back to shore,” the statement, obtained by HollywoodLife, read. “At approximately 7:00 p.m., an overturned canoe, matching the approximate description of the one which the pair were in, was located,” the statement also confirmed. The Kennedy family issued a statement through a spokesman Alan Fleischmann. “At this time, our family asks for privacy and that everyone keep Maeve and Gideon in their prayers,” the statement said.
Maeve and Gideon are the daughter and grandson of former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsen., who served as lieutenant gov. of Maryland from 1995 to 2003. Townsend is the eldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 while running for president, and the niece of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated three years earlier in Dallas. Maeve was the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. Gideon was her only child.
Our thoughts are with all of those impacted by the tragic deaths of Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon. This story is still developing.