‘She was the brightest light I have ever known’: Husband of Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter Maeve, 40, pays tribute to his wife after she and their eight-year-old son disappeared while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay
- Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son Gideon are feared dead after they disappeared while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay Thursday
- The pair went out on the water to retrieve a kickball and never returned; the Coast Guard found their kayak empty and have now called off their search
- Maeve’s husband, David, paid tribute to his wife and son in an emotional post on Facebook Friday night
- Maeve is the granddaughter of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the grandniece of President John F. Kennedy
- The famous family have endured numerous tragedies, with many claiming they suffer ‘The Kennedy Curse’
The husband of Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter, Maeve, has paid heartbreaking tribute to his wife and young son a day after they disappeared while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
In a Facebook post penned late Friday, David McKean claimed it was all but certain his wife Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and their son Gideon, eight, had drowned after they went out on the water to fetch a missing ball on Thursday afternoon.
‘Maeve was my everything,’ David wrote. ‘She was my best friend and my soulmate. I have already thought many times over today that I need to remember to tell her about something that’s happening. I am terrified by the idea that this will fade over time.’
David and Maeve were married in 2009. In addition to Gideon, the couple also share two younger children – daughter, Gabriella, seven, and son, Toby, two.
Meave is the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. She graduated from the prestigious Washington, D.C. college with a law degree.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son Gideon, eight, are feared to have drowned Thursday while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay
Meave and husband David McKean are pictured with their three children, Gideon, Gabriella and Toby in a recent Facebook snap
Daviod shared his heartbreaking post to Facebook after the Coast Guard called off the search for his wife and young son
In his Facebook post, David explained that he and Meave had decided to take their children to a family lakehouse in Shady Side, Maryland to give them more space to play during the coronavirus lockdown.
‘Maeve and Gideon 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,’ David stated in his post.
About half an hour later, the mother and son were spotted far from the shore by an onlooker, and the police were promptly called.
‘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,’ David somberly stated.
Meave and Gideon are pictured with David with their three children in a photo taken last Halloween
Maeve and David were spending time with their three children at the family lakehouse in Shady Side, Maryland (above) when the tragedy occurred
The Maryland State Police, US Coast Guard, and local police and fire departments all joined the search the the mother and son. The search has now been called off
He went on to pay tribute to his oldest child, Gideon.
‘Gideon was 8, but he may as well have been 38. He was deeply compassionate, declining to sing children’s songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly. He hated if I accidently let a bad word slip. He spent hours upstairs reading, learning everything he could about sports, and trying to decipher the mysteries of the stock market. But he was also incredibly social, athletic, and courageous,’ he wrote.
‘I used to marvel at him as a toddler and worry that he was too perfect to exist in this world. It seems to me now that he was.’
David paid tribute to oldest son Gideon, eight, who is thought to have drowned along with his mother Thursday
David then turned his thoughts to Maeve, whom he married 11 years ago.
‘She was my best friend and my soulmate… 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,’ he stated.
‘She did the Peace Corps, she ran the Boston Marathon, she knew how rub Gabriella’s legs when they cramped, and being in her presence somehow allowed you to be a better version of yourself. She was the brightest light I have ever known.’
If Maeve and Gideon are not discovered safely, David will face raising his two younger children as a single father.
‘At seven, Gabriella is heartbroken, but she amazes me with her maturity and grace. Toby is two-and-a-half, so he’s still his usual magical and goofy self. I know soon he will start to ask for Maeve and Gideon. It breaks my heart that he will not get to have them as a mother and brother,’ he penned.
David then poignantly wrote: ‘As Gabriella and Toby lay sleeping next to me last night, I promised them that I would do my best to be the parent that Maeve was, and to be the person that Gideon clearly would have grown up to be. Part of that is keeping their memories alive’.
‘You could hear Maeve’s laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot. She was magical—with endless energy’: David wrote poignantly about his wife Meave (pictured after a recent marathon)
Meave’s mother, Lt Gov Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, released a statement about the presumed death of daughter on Friday night: ‘With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery’.
Coast Guard sector commander Matthew Fine told CNN: ‘This was a difficult case, and even more difficult to make the decision to suspend the search.
‘Our crews and partners did everything they could to find them. We’ve kept the family informed at every step during the search, and our thoughts are with them tonight.’
Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan addressed the pair’s disappearance during a coronavirus briefing on Friday, during which he offered sympathies to the family.
‘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,’ Gov Hogan said.
McKean’s mother, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is the eldest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and niece of the late President John F. Kennedy. Kathleen (right) and her daughters Maeve (center) and Katie (left) are pictured above in 1995
Maeve, who is the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative, had tweeted a photo of her son Gideon just last week as she home-schooled him during the coronavirus pandemic
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said Friday: ‘News of this tragedy hit me and my family hard this morning.’
‘We are holding Kathleen and her family in the light and holding our own loved ones a little closer as we reflect on their pain and their loss,’ he said.
The Maryland State Police, US Coast Guard, and local police and fire departments all joined the search for the mother and son.
The disappearance comes less than a year after Saoirse Kennedy Hill (above), another of Robert F Kennedy’s granddaughters, died from an overdose at the age of 22. Saoirse, who was the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, is Maeve’s cousin
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s coronavirus-related shutdown has prohibited most forms of recreational boarding but kayaking and paddleboarding are still allowed.
There are currently more than 2,700 infections recorded in the state with the death toll now at 42.
Maeve had tweeted a photo of her son Gideon just last week as she home-schooled him during the coronavirus pandemic.
The photo showed the eight-year-old smiling as he watched an interview between Stephen Curry and Dr Anthony Fauci – the nation’s top coronavirus expert.
‘@StephenCurry30 and Dr. Fauci’s very informative interview was part of my 8-year old son’s homeschooling today! #ParentingInAPandemic,’ she tweeted alongside the photo.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean’s is pictured above with her family, including her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean (bottom right)
Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan addressed the pair’s disappearance during a coronavirus briefing on Friday, during which he offered sympathies to the family and said an intensive search had been underway
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s coronavirus-related shutdown has prohibited most forms of recreational boarding but kayaking and paddleboarding are still allowed. There are currently more than 2,700 infections recorded in the state with the death toll now at 42
Maeve, a public health and human rights lawyer, has served as executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative.
The initiative’s website says her work focuses on “the intersection of global health and human rights’.
She previously served as an associate research professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health.
The disappearance of the mother and son is the latest tragedy to involve the Kennedy family.
It comes less than a year after Saoirse Kennedy Hill, another of Robert F Kennedy’s granddaughters, died from an overdose at the age of 22.
Among the prescription drugs found in her system were diazepam and nordiazepam (first marketed as Valium), fluoxetine (Prozac) and norfluoxetine (the anti-depressant Luoxetine).
Her death came just one month before she was set to start her senior year at Boston College.
Saoirse, who was the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, is Maeve’s cousin.
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