Kennedys Died Trying to 'Retrieve a Ball'

David McKean recounts the incidents that led to tragic accident
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2020 10:45 AM CDT
Kennedys Died Trying to 'Retrieve a Ball'
This undated image posted on Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's Twitter account shows her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean.   (Twitter via AP)

The Kennedys grappled with yet another tragic loss Friday after Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean—Robert F. Kennedy's granddaughter—and her 8-year-old son, Gideon, were feared dead in a canoe accident, USA Today reports. "She was my everything," her husband, David McKean, writes on Facebook. "She was my best friend and my soulmate. I have already thought many times over today that I need to remember to tell Maeve about something that's happening." The human rights lawyer also explained how his loved ones ended up far from shore Thursday in Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Maryland, where the family was self-quarantining in an empty house to give their children space to run around.

"Gideon and Maeve were playing kickball by the small, shallow cove behind the house, and one of them kicked the ball into the water," he writes, adding that "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." CNN reports that former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, McKean's mom, said the rescue mission turned to recovery on Friday. "My heart is crushed," she said. (More Kennedy family stories.)

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