Chesapeake Bay

Body of 8-Year-Old Kennedy Family Member Found After Canoe Accident

Officials used underwater imaging sonar technology to find the child’s body in 25 feet of water

Maeve Kennedy McKean greets Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to condemn the separation and detention of families at the border of the U.S. and Mexico on June 21, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The body of an 8-year-old boy who disappeared Thursday after canoeing with his mother on the Chesapeake Bay has been found, police said. 

Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean’s body was found Wednesday afternoon about two miles from where he and his mother, Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, set off on Thursday

The boy’s body was found about 2,000 feet from where his mother’s body was found two days earlier, Maryland Natural Resources Police said. 

Officials used underwater imaging sonar technology to find the child’s body in 25 feet of water at about 1:40 p.m., approximately 2.3 miles south of Shady Side, Maryland. 

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department and Charles County Dive Rescue assisted in the dayslong search. 

Maeve McKean was the daughter of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy and grandniece of former president John F. Kennedy. 

Maeve McKean and her son were playing kickball near a shallow cove behind her mother’s house when the ball went in the water, the family said. They got into the canoe to retrieve it from the cove but got pushed into the bay amid strong winds. 


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Someone spotted them struggling to get back to shore about 30 minutes later and called authorities, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. They were not seen again.

Maeve McKean’s husband, David McKean, said he was heartbroken to try to explain who his wife and son were. 

"He was deeply compassionate, declining to sing children’s songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly,” David McKean said in a Facebook post. 

He said he used to marvel at his son as a toddler, thinking he was too perfect to exist in this world. "It seems to me now that he was," David McKean said.

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