Kennedy family member, her 8-year-old son missing after canoe trip, Maryland governor says

Rescuers are searching for two missing boaters – a member of the Kennedy family and her young son – after their canoe was found miles from where they were last seen struggling in rough and choppy waters in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Friday.

“A former Maryland lieutenant governor’s daughter, Maeve, and her 8-year-old grandson, Gideon, went missing after canoeing yesterday afternoon,” Hogan said at a press conference.”An intensive search has been underway since late yesterday.”

The missing pair are Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son Gideon, 8.

Maeve McKean is the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, the grandniece of former President John F. Kennedy, and daughter of former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy’s eldest child.

Maeve McKean is the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative.

“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,” Hogan said.

The Washington Post reported her husband, David McKean, a Washington human rights lawyer, confirmed their identity. The Baltimore Sun quoted a Kennedy family statement issued through a family friend.

“At this time, our family asks for privacy and that everyone keep Maeve and Gideon in their prayers,” the statement said, according to The Sun.

The search for the two has been carried out by multiple agencies, including the Maryland Natural Resources Police, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard.

According to public statements by those agencies, authorities were alerted Thursday by a call about 4.30 p.m. from a concerned citizen who saw two people in a small craft drifting in the bay in waters off Columbia Beach, Md.

“The preliminary investigation revealed that the pair 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,” according to the statement from Maryland Natural Resources Police sent to USA TODAY by spokeswoman Lauren Moses.

“At approximately 7:00 p.m., an overturned canoe, matching the approximate description of the one which the pair were in was located, the statement said.

The overturned craft was found in Herring Bay, several miles south of where it was last seen, according to Capt. Erik Kornmeyer of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. At about 7.30 p.m., he said, the search was called off because of darkness.

Kornmeyer said the weather in the bay was especially windy on Thursday with significantly rough waters.

Units from the U.S. Coast Guard continued the search overnight and other rescue agencies returned to the search on Friday morning.

Another granddaughter of Robert Kennedy, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, 22, died Aug. 1 of an accidental drug overdose at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, adding to a history of tragedies for the famed family.

Saoirse was the only child of Courtney Kennedy Hill, the fifth of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s eleven children and a younger sister of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.