Body of Kennedy granddaughter, son found after canoe accident

David McKean, Maeve Kennedy Townsend Mckean and family attend the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts 2019 Ripple Of Hope Gala & Auction In NYC on December 12, 2019 in New York City. Getty Images

The bodies of Robert F. Kennedy‘s granddaughter and her 8-year-old son have been found after a canoeing accident in Chesapeake Bay on Thursday.

On Monday around 5:30 p.m., a team of divers found Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean’s body in about 7.5 metres of water four kilometres away from her mom’s home in Shady Side, Maryland, the Maryland Natural Resources Police said in a statement, per CNN.

Two days later, Gideon’s body was also found at around 1:40 p.m. about 3.7 kilometers from the Shady Side residence. He was around 609 meters away from mom Maeve’s body, police say.

Townsend McKean and son Gideon reportedly “popped into a canoe” to retrieve a ball that landed in the water, husband David McKean explained to the Washington Post on Friday.

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That evening, McKean took to Facebook with a lengthy post mourning the loss of his wife and son.

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“It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small. It is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away,” he wrote, adding that the search will continue and he hopes that it “will be successful.”

“At seven, Gabriella is heartbroken, but she amazes me with her maturity and grace,” he continued, referring to their middle child. “Toby is two-and-a-half, so he’s still his usual magical and goofy self.”

“I know soon he will start to ask for Maeve and Gideon,” he continued in the post. “It breaks my heart that he will not get to have them as a mother and brother.”

They were visiting with family at his mother-in-law’s property in Shady Side, Maryland, when the incident occurred.

The “capsized” canoe and paddle were recovered on Thursday evening, he continued in the Facebook update.

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“They just got farther out than they could handle and couldn’t get back in,” McKean told the publication.

In a statement to People, Maryland Department of Natural Resources confirmed that the 40-year-old and her son’s boat “appeared to be overtaken by strong winds.”

They didn’t identify the missing woman and her child, but revealed similar details as David, saying they “may have been paddling the canoe from a residence … out into the bay to retrieve a ball and were unable to paddle back to shore.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, a local resident called 911 at around 4:30 p.m. when he reportedly saw the woman and her son in a small canoe or kayak from the Columbia Beach community pier.

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Maeve is the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, the grandniece of former President John F. Kennedy and daughter of former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.


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