The Untold Truth Of Robert F. Kennedy's Missing Granddaughter

History hasn't been kind to the Kennedy family. From the assassinations of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy and U.S Senator Robert F. Kennedy, to the plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, this "cursed" American dynasty has endured its undue share of tragedy. And on Friday, April 3, the Kennedy family braced for more loss as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, the 40-year-old granddaughter of RFK, and her 8-year-old son Gideon were presumed dead after their canoe tipped off the coast of Herring Bay, Md.

According to her family, the public health and human rights lawyer — who served as the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative — was playing kickball with her son when one of them kicked the ball into the water. The two apparently hopped into their canoe to retrieve the ball, but as husband David McKean wrote on Facebook, his wife and son "somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay."

While the Maryland Coast Guard ultimately transitioned from rescue to recovery, the team has since called off their search. "It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small," David added. "It is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away." Since this announcement, the Kennedys have received an outpouring of public love and support as friends and family members remember Maeve and Gideon.

Here's what we know about Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's accident

While authorities have yet to recover Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's body or the body of her son Gideon, her family revealed that the accident happened near the family's home outside Annapolis, where they were self-quarantined amid the coronavirus pandemic. David McKean — Maeve's husband and father of the couple's two other children: Gabriella, 7, and Toby, 2 — posted details of his wife and son's disappearance on Facebook shortly after the news made headlines.

"We were self-quarantining in an empty house owned by Maeve's mother [former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend] on the Chesapeake Bay, hoping to give our kids more space than we have at home in DC to run around," David wrote. But as the mother and son played, one must've kicked the ball into the nearby water.

"The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake," he explained. "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." Per David's post, the Coast Guard recovered the canoe miles away on Thursday evening after it had capsized.

Maryland's Coast Guard has suspended its search efforts

Although Maryland's Coast Guard searched for Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon along the Chesapeake Bay coast for more than 24 hours, the lead commander announced that his team suspended its efforts on Friday night.

"This was a difficult case, and even more difficult to make the decision to suspend the search," said Commander Matthew Fine, deputy sector commander and active search suspension authority at Sector Maryland-National Capital Region command center (via CNN). "Our crews and partners did everything they could to find them. We've kept the family informed at every step during the search, and our thoughts are with them tonight."

"My heart is 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," said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maeve's mother and former Maryland Lt. Governor, according to CNN. "My family thanks all for the outpouring of love and prayers as we grieve and try to bear this devastating loss."

While Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed the mother and child had not yet been found, he added, "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."

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's family paid their respects on social media

As citizens continue to shelter-in-place amid COVID-19, Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's family came together to share their grief via social media. "We love you Maeve. We love you Gideon," Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Maeve's cousin, posted on Twitter. "Our family has lost two of the brightest lights. Grateful for the prayers. Hold your loved ones tight.'

"Maeve was a sister to me growing up. I cannot imagine my childhood, or my adulthood without her. She will live in a special place in my heart forever, brightened by Gideon's sweet smile," her cousin Kick Kennedy wrote on Instagram. "I mourn the loss of my cousins, and am reminded of how many others have lost the ones they love the most during these very difficult times in our world. It is a time to pray that we may find our way through this darkness with the guide of the love at the center of God's broken heart."

But David McKean's Facebook post about the loss of his "best friend and soulmate" remains the most heartbreaking of all. "[B]eing in her presence somehow allowed you to be a better version of yourself," he wrote. "She was the brightest light I have ever known." We wish the Kennedy family nothing but light and love during this time of unexpected tragedy.