The Kennedy family was struck by another tragedy on Friday. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, announced that her daughter, Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, and grandson Gideon are presumed dead after their canoe capsized in the Chesapeake Bay. Social media users mourned the tragedy after Townsend said the search effort is now focused on recovery.
"With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery," Townsend said late Friday. "Maeve was vivid. You always knew when she was in a room. Her laughter was loud, unabashed and infectious. She did everything with her full self and her whole heart."
KcKean, 40, and Gideon, 8, had been missing since late Thursday afternoon. They were last seen in the waters near their Shady Side, Maryland home, south of Annapolis. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources found the two "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 department said an overturned canoe matching the description of the one they were described as being in was found.
'That Poor, Poor Family'
Such unbearable news for the family of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on the loss of her daughter Maeve and 8 year old grandson Gideon missing after an apparent canoe accident. Kathleen’s statement: pic.twitter.com/tBIVSU1aYE— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) April 4, 2020
Townsend and her family are members of the Kennedy political dynasty. She is the eldest daughter of the late Massachusetts Senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. She is the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy and Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. She served as Maryland's lieutenant governor from 1995 to 2003. McKean was the executive director of Georgetown University's Global Initiative, reports NBC News.
Oh no. That poor, poor family. This is heartbreaking— Donna Quirk Moskal (@donna_moskal) April 4, 2020
'Another Tragedy for the Kennedys'
So sad. Another tragedy for the Kennedy’s.— Peggy Thomas (@pstttt58) April 4, 2020
"I reached out to and spoke with Lt. Gov. Townsend this morning and on behalf of the people of Maryland I expressed our most heartfelt sympathies and prayers to her and to her entire family during this difficult time," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement, reports ABC News.
So so sorry. Such a tragic loss. My heart goes out to the Kennedy family. I’ll keep them in my prayers.— Esmerelda (@sandz1111) April 4, 2020
'This Family had Suffered Too Much'
So sad. This family had suffered too much— ⭐Hollywood DepTM 🌟#PRAYFORRUSH🙏🏽 (@mi2guys) April 3, 2020
"News of this tragedy hit me and my family hard this morning," Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman added. "We are holding Kathleen and her family in the light, and holding our own loved ones a little closer as we reflect on their pain and their loss."
Sad news, prayers for their family, may they rest in peace.— Brenda Sosa (@blsosa1) April 3, 2020
'My Deepest Condolences'
My Deepest Condolences 😢— Lis_andrello (@HLisandrello) April 4, 2020
Robert F. Kennedy's granddaughter and her son presumed dead after canoeing accident in Marylandhttps://t.co/z8HzVS3ogF
"Our Maeve devoted her life to helping society's most vulnerable," Townsend said in a statement. She later added, "Maeve was vivid. You always knew when she was in a room. Her laughter was loud, unabashed and infections. She did everything with her full self and her whole heart."
Heartbroken for this family, again.— gina caposey (@CaposeyGina) April 4, 2020
Heartbreaking— Jayne 🎶😍☘️👠😎🎶🆘 @🏡 💻📚🍷 (@smilingoutloud2) April 4, 2020
"Gideon, like his mom, was a star athlete who loved soccer, golf, and running," Townsend continued. "He took after his parents in the most extraordinary ways. He loved riddles, math, chess, and adventures. He loved to invent new games with his mom and share them with us all."
Sad. May they RIP— Raosnaps (@raosnaps) April 4, 2020
Unbelievable 🖤😔— Norma💙G (@NormaJe25519970) April 4, 2020
May they rest in paradise 🖤😔
The curse must be broken!
"My heart is crushed, yet we shall try to summon the grace of God and what strength we have to honor the hope, energy and passion that Maeve and Gideon set forth into the world," Townsend said. "My family thanks all for the outpouring of love and prayers as we grieve and try to bear this devastating loss."
Very sad. God be with them.— LaTanya (@LMonCampus) April 4, 2020
Photo credit: Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images