Body of Robert F. Kennedy's Granddaughter Found 4 Days After She Went Missing with Son in Canoe Accident

The search for Gideon McKean, 8, will continue on Tuesday, police say

Four days after going missing in a canoe accident, the body of Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean — Robert F. Kennedy‘s granddaughter — has been found.

The search for the body of Maeve’s young son Gideon will resume tomorrow, authorities said.

Maeve’s body was recovered at about 5:31 p.m. on Monday about 2.5 miles away from her mother’s waterfront property in Shady Side, Maryland, the Maryland Natural Resources Police said in a press release obtained by PEOPLE. She was found in about 25 feet of water, police said.

Maeve, 40, and Gideon, 8, went missing on Thursday, April 2, at the Shady Side property, Maeve’s husband David McKean told The Washington Post at the time. David told the outlet that the mother-son pair had “popped into a canoe” in order to retrieve a ball that had fallen into the water.

“They just got farther out than they could handle and couldn’t get back in,” David told the outlet.

Maeve Kennedy
Mike Pont/Getty Images

Authorities said at the time that their boat — which was retrieved Thursday with no sign of either Maeve or Gideon — appeared to have been “overtaken by the strong winds” that day.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed the disappearance of Maeve and Gideon during a press briefing on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Friday afternoon, saying that “an intensive search” had been underway since late Thursday.

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From left: Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon. Facebook

The preliminary investigation “revealed that the pair may have been paddling the canoe from a residence … out into the bay to retrieve a ball and were unable to paddle back to shore,” Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources police said in a previous statement.

On Friday, David wrote in an emotional Facebook post that “it is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away.”

In a heartfelt tribute to each, the mourning father said that Gideon was a “deeply compassionate” boy and “incredibly social, athletic, and courageous.”

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Maeve Kennedy McKean. Facebook
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Maeve Kennedy and son Gideon. Facebook

He called Maeve his “everything,” adding, “she was my best friend and my soulmate.”

“I am terrified by the idea that this will fade over time,” wrote David. “You could hear Maeve’s laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot. She was magical—with endless energy that she would put toward inventing games for our children, taking on another project at work or in our community, and spending time with our friends.”

David and Maeve shared two more children, Gabriella, 7, and Toby, 2 1/2.

Maeve is the daughter of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 1995 to 2003. Her father is David Lee Townsend, an attorney and professor. She is one of slain Sen. RFK’s granddaughters and a great-niece of former President John F. Kennedy.

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