Body of second Kennedy family member is recovered from Chesapeake Bay

Maeve Kennedy Townsend Mckean (centre) and son Gideon (second from right) attend the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts 2019 Ripple Of Hope Gala & Auction In NYC, on Dec 12, 2019.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend Mckean (centre) and son Gideon (second from right) attend the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts 2019 Ripple Of Hope Gala & Auction In NYC, on Dec 12, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - The body of an 8-year-old grandson of former Lieutenant-Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend of Maryland who went missing with his mother in a canoe last week was recovered in the Chesapeake Bay on Wednesday (April 8), two days after his mother's body was found, authorities said.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police said that the body of the grandson, Gideon McKean, was found 600 metres from where the body of his mother, Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, was recovered on Monday (April 6).

Gideon's body was found in 7m of water, over 3 kilometres south of his grandmother's home in Shady Side, Maryland, south of Annapolis, police said.

The two disappeared last Thursday (April 2) after Maeve and Gideon set off in a canoe from that property to recover a ball and drifted into the bay, according to the family and the police.

"They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay," David McKean, Gideon's father and Maeve McKean's husband, explained in a Facebook post last Friday.

A concerned citizen noticed the mother and son drifting away in the canoe and called 911 around 4:30pm (local time), according to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

"After that last sighting, they were not seen again," David McKean said.

There were up to 1m waves and 46kph winds in the bay when the mother and son disappeared, according to the Coast Guard.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland asked the public to continue to support the family.

"Please continue to keep their family in your prayers as they mourn this devastating loss," he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Townsend thanked Hogan, the Department of Natural Resources and the police.


"They have helped us bring some closure to this terrible loss, and our family will always be grateful for their tireless work," she said.

On Monday, in a video, Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts remembered his cousin, McKean, as "an extraordinary mom". "Maeve was my cousin closest in age who I looked up to," Kennedy said, adding that she was "an incredibly vibrant young woman".

Maeve McKean was the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative and a Peace Corps volunteer. She served on the board of the Brady Campaign and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organisation, Townsend said last Friday.

"Our Maeve devoted her life to helping society's most vulnerable," she said.

The McKeans had three children: Gideon, Gabriella and Toby. In his Facebook post, David McKean said his wife was his soul mate and called his son compassionate and brave.

"I used to marvel at him as a toddler and worry that he was too perfect to exist in this world," McKean said. "It seems to me now that he was."