The grandson and adult daughter of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend went missing after the pair's canoe apparently capsized in the Chesapeake Bay, authorities said Friday.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her 8-year-old son Gideon were canoeing in Anne Arundel, Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan told reporters on Friday, adding that the search was ongoing.
The potential tragedy unfolded late Thursday afternoon in waters near the pair's Shady Side, Maryland home, about 25 miles south of Annapolis, officials said.
"I have some other sad news to share," Gov. Larry Hogan told reporters. "Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's daughter, Maeve, and her 8-year-old grandson Gideon went missing after canoeing yesterday afternoon on the south river here in Anne Arundel. An intensive search has been underway since late yesterday."
Hogan added: "I reached out to and spoke with Lt. Gov. 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."
A Maryland Department of Natural Resources statement said a preliminary investigation "revealed that the pair may have been paddling the canoe from a residence in Shady Side, MD out into the bay to retrieve a ball and were unable to paddle back to shore."
An overturned canoe, approximately matching the description the pair were in, was later found, the department said.
Rescuers from the Natural Resources Police, Maryland State Police, U.S. Coast Guard and local police and fire departments continued their search on Friday, officials said.
Kennedy Townsend comes from one of the most famous political clans in U.S. history. Sheâ€™s the oldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and niece of former President John F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy.
She served two terms of lieutenant governor of Maryland.
Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean is executive director of Georgetown University's Global Health Initiative.
The missing woman got into a very public spat last year with her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., over his son's skepticism of vaccines. She, her mother and former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II penned a tough editorial taking Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to task.
"He helped to spread dangerous misinformation and is complicit in sowing distrust of the science behind vaccines," they wrote. "We love Bobby. However, on vaccines he is wrong."