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Body of RFK granddaughter’s son, 8, recovered after Chesapeake Bay accident

The body of 8-year-old Gideon McKean was recovered Wednesday afternoon, two days after search crews found the body of his mother, a granddaughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son were involved in a canoeing accident in Chesapeake Bay last Thursday, while staying at the Maryland home of Maeve McKean’s mother, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a daughter of the late senator.

The family had left Washington to self-quarantine at the Maryland house because of the coronavirus outbreak, Maeve McKean’s husband, David McKean, wrote in a Facebook post.


A rescue operation began last Thursday but was called off Friday night and became a recovery operation beginning last Saturday.

McKean and her son had gotten into the canoe to retrieve a ball that had gone into the water, David McKean told The Washington Post last week. But they were canoeing amid strong winds and were unable to make it back to shore.

Gideon McKean’s body was found in about 25 feet of water more than two miles south of his grandmother’s home in Shady Side, Md., the state Natural Resources Police said in a news release.

The body of the boy’s mother had been found about 2,000 feet away from that of her son, police said, according to The Associated Press.

The bodies of Gideon McKean, 8, and Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, were recovered this week after a canoeing accident last Thursday. 

The boy’s grandmother, 68, is a former two-term lieutenant governor of Maryland and the oldest of the 11 children of Robert Kennedy and his widow Ethel Kennedy.


After her grandson’s body was recovered, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend issued a statement of thanks to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and others for their assistance, according to FOX 5 of Washington, D.C.

“On behalf of our family, I want to share our heartfelt gratitude to Governor Hogan, Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, and the team of more than 50 professionals from the Department of Natural Resources, Anne Arundel, Charles County, and the State Police, who spent these last days searching for our fierce and loving Maeve and Gideon,” Townsend wrote. “They have helped us bring some closure to this terrible loss, and our family will always be grateful for their tireless work.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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