Maryland police have found the body of Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, who has been missing since her canoe disappeared in the choppy waters of the Chesapeake Bay on April 2.
After a days-long search that involved aviation and underwater imaging sonar technology, police and members of the Charles County Dive and Rescue, recovered McKean's body in 25 feet of water about 2.5 miles south of her mother’s Shady Side, Md. residence, according to a release from Maryland Natural Resources Police.
It is from this residence that authorities believe McKean, 40, had launched the canoe to retrieve a missing ball with her eight-year-old son, Gideon. Police believe, strong winds and heavy seas prevented the pair from paddling back to shore. After a rescue search, the overturned canoe that the duo were in was found Friday.
The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday evening that the 26-hour search that covered more than 3,600 square miles of air, sea and land would be suspended.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police will resume search operations for Gideon McKean in what is deemed a recovery effort.
McKean was 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.
David McKean detailed on a Facebook post Friday what he has "come to understand" about the tragedy that befell his wife, who served as the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. Together the couple shared Gideon, 8, along with daughter Gabriella, 7, and son Toby, 2.
"We were self-quarantining in an empty house owned by Maeve’s mother Kathleen on the Chesapeake Bay, hoping to give our kids more space than we have at home in DC to run around," he wrote. "Gideon and Maeve were playing kickball by the small, shallow cove behind the house, and one of them kicked the ball into the water. The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake. They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay. About 30 minutes later they were spotted by an onlooker from land, who saw them far out from shore, and called the police. After that last sighting, they were not seen again. The Coast Guard recovered their canoe, which was capsized and miles away, at approximately 6:30 yesterday evening."
Kennedy Townsend said in a statement Friday that her family's "hearts are 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. My family thanks all for the outpouring of love and prayers as we grieve and try to bear this devastating loss."