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Recovery mission underway for two members of Kennedy family missing on US canoe trip

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon did not return to shore at Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, on Thursday.

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon did not return to shore at Chesapeake Bay on Thursday.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon did not return to shore at Chesapeake Bay on Thursday.
Image: David McKean/Facebook

THE SEARCH FOR the daughter and a grandson of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest daughter of Robert F Kennedy, is being treated as a recovery mission, the family said. 

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean (40) and her son 8-year-old son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean did not return to shore at Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, on Thursday.

“With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery,” Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said in a statement Friday night.  

A Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman said authorities suspended the search Friday night but would resume again this morning.

Kennedy Townsend, who served two terms as Maryland’s lieutenant governor, is the eldest daughter of the late US Attorney General and US Senator Robert F Kennedy, and niece of the late President John F Kennedy.

“I reached out to and spoke with lieutenant governor 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 Governor Larry Hogan said yesterday afternoon.

The search started Thursday afternoon after the state Natural Resources Police responded to a report of two people on a canoe in the Chesapeake Bay who appeared to be overtaken by strong winds.

kennedy-townsend-missing-relatives Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaking at last night's news conference. Source: AP/PA Images

A statement from the agency, which didn’t name the missing people, said they may have been paddling the canoe from a home in Shady Side, Maryland, to retrieve a ball and couldn’t paddle back to shore. An overturned canoe matching the one used by the missing people was found on Thursday night, the agency said.

Maeve McKean, a public health and human rights lawyer, served as executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative, news outlets reported.

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The initiative’s website says her work focused on “the intersection of global health and human rights.” McKean previously served as an associate research professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health.

“Our Maeve dedicated her life to society’s most vulnerable,” Kennedy Townsend said in a statement, adding that her grandson Gideon was a “loving” big brother who excelled at sports, riddles, math and chess.

“My heart is crushed, yet we shall try to summon the grace of God and what strength we have to honour the hope, energy and passion that Maeve and Gideon set forth into the world.

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Associated Press

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