Family Members Pay Tribute to RFK's Missing Granddaughter and Her Son, As Search Turns to Recovery

A search for two members of the Kennedy family has now turned from a rescue to recovery mission on Saturday, after the pair were reported missing more than 24 hours earlier. Meanwhile, relatives paid tributes to the two on social media.

According to CNN, Maeve Kennedy McKean and her eight-year old son Gideon were last seen on Thursday night. McKean is a granddaughter of former U.S. Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

David McKean, Maeve's husband, told The Washington Post that his wife and son went missing after going in a canoe to get a ball that had gone into the water on their waterfront property in Annapolis, Maryland. "They just got farther out than they could handle and couldn't get back in," he told the newspaper.

"This was a difficult case, and even more difficult to make the decision to suspend the search," Commander Matthew Fine, deputy sector commander and active search suspension authority at Sector Maryland-National Capitol Region command center, told 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."

McKean's mother, former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, announced that the search efforts had turned from rescue to recovery and remembered her daughter and grandson. "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," she said in a statement to CNN. "My family thanks all for the outpouring of love and prayers as we grieve and try to bear this devastating loss."

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David McKean, Maeve Kennedy Townsend Mckean and family attend the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts 2019 Ripple Of Hope Gala & Auction In NYC on December 12, 2019 in New York City. Mike Pont/Getty

David McKean paid tribute to both Maeve and Gideon in a Facebook post, writing about his son's bravery and maturity. "Gideon was 8, but he may as well have been 38. He was deeply compassionate, declining to sing children's songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly," he wrote. "I used to marvel at him as a toddler and worry that he was too perfect to exist in this world. It seems to me now that he was."

"Maeve turned 40 in November, and she was my everything. 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. I am terrified by the idea that this will fade over time," he wrote. "She was the brightest light I have ever known."

Congressman Joe Kennedy III, another grandchild of Robert F. Kennedy, tweeted about McKean and her son. "We love you Maeve. We love you Gideon. Our family has lost two of the brightest lights. Grateful for the prayers. Hold your loved ones tight," he tweeted.

We love you Maeve. We love you Gideon. Our family has lost two of the brightest lights. Grateful for the prayers. Hold your loved ones tight.

— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) April 4, 2020

Journalist Maria Shriver, who is the niece of Robert Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy, tweeted Saturday: "My heart and love go out to my cousin@KKT_Kennedy and her family. There are no words. Please just pray for them."

My heart and love go out to my cousin @KKT_Kennedy and her family. There are no words. Please just pray for them. https://t.co/dJsDnkIEVu

— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) April 4, 2020

Updated 2:27 PM ET.