Search for JFK’s Grand-Niece and Her Son Moves to Recovery Operation

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son went missing while in a canoe on Thursday

Immigration Rally
Maeve Kennedy McKean greets Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to condemn the separation and detention of families at the border of the U.S. and Mexico on June 21, 2018.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
By Tobias Carroll / April 4, 2020 6:00 am

There’s tragic news out of Maryland this week, and it involves one of the country’s most prominent political families. Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean — Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter — and her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean went missing while in a canoe on Chesapeake Bay.

A report from the New York Post notes that McKean’s eight-year-old son was playing with other children when the ball they were using went into the water. Mother and son went into the canoe to retrieve it, and found themselves dealing with much more turbulent waters than they had expected.

Later on Thursday, a report of the canoe’s position came via a call made to the authorities:

The caller reported that boaters were “seen struggling to return to shore in a canoe” near Herring Bay amid high winds before vanishing, the Coast Guard said.

The family was in the area to visit McKean’s mother Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maryland’s former Lieutenant Governor. On Friday night, Townsend released a statement indicating that the search “has turned from rescue to recovery.”

It’s a heartbreaking occurrence and another tragic event for the family, following the death last year of McKean’s cousin Saoirse Kennedy Hill at the age of 22.

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