The Kennedy family has a history of tragic deaths.
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The daughter and grandson of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend are missing after a canoeing accident, the state’s governor confirmed.
Townsend is the eldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 while running for president, and the niece of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated five years earlier in Dallas.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, Townsend’s daughter, and her 8-year-old son, Gideon, got into a canoe Thursday in the water of Chesapeake Bay off their home in Shady Side, Maryland, “to retrieve a ball and were unable to paddle back to shore,” according to Maryland Natural Resources Police.
A source close to McKean’s family, who is with the family now, said in a statement on behalf of the family: “At this time, our family asks for privacy and that everyone keep Maeve and Gideon in their prayers.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed the two have not been found at the start of a press conference on Friday afternoon. Police had earlier confirmed a canoe matching the description of the one that was missing was found overturned on Thursday night.
“I reached out to, and spoke with lieutenant governor 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,” Hogan said.
Authorities said Maeve, 40, and her son were unable to paddle back to shore due to the windy conditions.
Maryland State Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and local police and fire departments took part in the search.
Townsend served as lieutenant governor of Maryland from 1995 to 2003.
The Kennedy family has a long history of tragic incidents. In addition to the deaths of Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, the president’s son, John F. Kennedy Jr., and his wife were killed in a plane crash in July 1999. Robert F. Kennedy’s son, David, died of a drug overdose in 1984, and another of Robert’s son, Michael, died in a skiing accident in 1997.
It was just last August that Saoirse Roisin Kennedy Hill, also a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, died of a drug overdose at the Kennedy family compound in Massachusetts.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said the governor had confirmed Maeve Kennedy and her son had drowned, which he did not say. The two are still being categorized as missing. We apologize for the error.