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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: Coast Guard search for Maeve, Gideon has turned into a recovery mission

Decomposed body found inside retired Coast Guard boat in Massachusetts
Posted at 9:56 AM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 20:52:53-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The U.S. Coast Guard and several state agencies are in search of a 41-year-old woman and her 8-year-old son, who went missing while canoeing Thursday near Annapolis.

Governor Larry Hogan on Friday afternoon said, the missing mother is Maeve Fahey Kennedy Townsend, and the son is Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean. Kennedy Townsend is the daughter of former Maryland Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy.

A concerned citizen called 911 at about 4:30 p.m. from the Columbia Beach community pier in Shady Side, after seeing the two struggling and drifting in the bay with their canoe or kayak.

About three-hours later, a matching canoe or kayak and a paddle were found overturned east of Rockhold Creek in Deale, Maryland.

A search by air and sea was launched to find the mother and son, but was called off shortly after over darkness.

In a statement, the Department of Natural Resources Police said the pair may have been paddling from a nearby home to retrieve a ball, but were unable to get back to shore.

A statement from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend:

“With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery.

Our Maeve devoted her life to helping society’s most vulnerable. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer who pursued a career in law to give voice to the voiceless. She was Executive Director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative and taught bioethics and human rights as an adjunct professor, where she gave hope to those who need it most.

Maeve served on the board of the Brady Campaign and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, where she honored the standard that we are all defined by the plight of those society leaves behind. She was a PTA president, a soccer star, and a marathon runner. Maeve was vivid. You always knew when she was in a room. Her laughter was loud, unabashed, and infectious. She did everything with her full self and her whole heart. She gave the best hugs, sang loudly and out of tune, danced, wrestled, argued, forgave. Maeve shone.

The fire emanating from her soul warmed us all. Her husband, David, and their children, Gideon, Gabriella, and Toby, were the great joys of her life. The role she treasured most was mom. Gideon, like his mom, was a star athlete who loved soccer, golf, and running. He took after his parents in the most extraordinary ways. He loved riddles, math, chess, and adventures. He loved to invent new games with his mom and share them with us all. Gideon was a loving and protective big brother to Gabriella and Toby.

And she was the most wonderful sister to Meaghan, Kat, and Kerry.When my uncle Ted eulogized my father, he offered a prayer that what daddy was to his family, and what he wished for others, would someday come to pass for all the world. This is our prayer for Maeve and Gideon.

Our 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.”

McKean's husband and Gideon's father posted this on Facebook Friday night: