Kennedys hold online service for missing family members

About 120 Kennedy family members held a prayer service on the Zoom video-conferencing app over the weekend for Maeve Kennedy McKean and her 8-year-old son, Gideon, who are presumed dead after disappearing while canoeing last week. David McKean, the husband of Maeve and father of Gideon, said Friday that it’s “clear” his wife and son “have passed away.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the brother of McKean’s mother, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, posted images on Instagram of the prayer service, which he said was led by Timothy Shriver, a cousin.

Kennedy Jr. said the service was attended by “Kennedy / Shriver / Lawford / McKelvey/ Allen / Schlossberg/ Schwarzenegger  / Cuomo cousins.” 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose daughters are cousins of Maeve and Gideon, called it a “tragedy,” and said it was “emotionally taxing” that the family couldn’t be together. 

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According to a Facebook post by David McKean, the family was “self-quarantining in an empty house” on Chesapeake Bay and Maeve and Gideon were playing kickball on Thursday when they got into the canoe to retrieve a lost ball. 

“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,” McKean wrote.

The Anne Arundel Fire Department arrived within five minutes of the call, according to Fire Captain Erik Kornmeyer. Despite the fast response, he said the fire dispatch was unable to reach the canoe. “Currents were pretty fast, they moved out of sight pretty quickly,” Kornmeyer said, adding that conditions were “rough and windy” Thursday night. 

On Friday, Maeve’s mother, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, said the search had “turned from rescue to recovery.” 

Audrey McNamara contributed reporting.

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