Divers recover body of R.F.K.'s granddaughter from Chesapeake Bay

The body of Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, the daughter of former Maryland lieutenant-governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, was found in Chesapeake Bay, authorities said Monday, and they will keep searching for her son, after the two went missing following a canoeing accident last week.

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and young son Gideon disappeared in canoeing accident last week

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, centre, is shown with members of her family on Dec. 12, 2019 at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Gala in New York City. Her son Gideon is second from the right. (Mike Pont/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights)

The body of the daughter of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was located in Chesapeake Bay Monday and recovered, and authorities said they will keep searching for her son.

The two went missing following a canoeing accident last week.

The body of Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, was located by Charles County Dive and Rescue about three kilometres south of her mother's residence in Shady Side, Md., where the canoe was launched, Maryland Natural Resources Police said.

The body was found almost eight metres below the surface after a days-long search that involved aviation and underwater imaging sonar technology.

Maeve McKean's husband, David, in a Facebook post Friday said their family was self-quarantining in an empty house owned by his wife's mother hoping to give their kids more space to run around than they had at their home in Washington, D.C.

Search for 8-year-old son resumes Tuesday

Authorities say they will resume searching Tuesday for her son, eight-year-old Gideon McKean. The search started Thursday after authorities responded to a report of two people on a canoe in the Chesapeake Bay who appeared to be overtaken by strong winds.

David McKean, who said he was heartbroken to even have to try to explain who his son was, described him as an old soul.

"He might as well have been 38," he said in his post. "He was deeply compassionate, declining to sing children's songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly."

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," McKean said.

He described his wife as his best friend and soulmate whose laugh you could hear a block away.

"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," McKean wrote. "She was the brightest light I have ever known."

Maeve McKean, a public health and human rights lawyer, served as executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. The initiative's website says her work focused on "the intersection of global health and human rights." McKean previously served as an associate research professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health.

Kennedy Townsend, who served two terms as Maryland's lieutenant governor, is the eldest daughter of the late U.S. Senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and niece of President John F. Kennedy.

"Our Maeve dedicated her life to society's most vulnerable," Kennedy Townsend said in a statement Friday night.

Her grandson Gideon, she said, was a "loving" big brother who excelled at sports, riddles, math and chess. "My heart is crushed yet we shall try to summon the grace of God and what strength we have to honour the hope, energy and passion that Maeve and Gideon set forth into the world."