GOVERNOR Andrew Cuomo took time out of his Saturday briefing to give an emotional tribute to his ex-wife’s niece and her son who went missing in a boating accident on Chesapeake Bay.
The New York governor described Friday’s tragedy involving Maeve Kennedy McKean, 40, and her son, Gideon, 8, as “emotionally taxing.”
Cuomo has three daughters with his ex-wife Kerry Kennedy, whom he divorced in 2003 after 13 years of marriage.
Kerry is the sister of Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend, McKean’s mother. Kerry Kennedy and Townsend are the daughters of Robert F. Kennedy.
He said: “The most difficult level is the human level, it is for me, anyway.
“My daughters’ cousins have a tragedy. They can’t hug each other, they can’t be with each other to grieve together.”
Cuomo's daughters, Michaela, Mariah, and Cara Kennedy-Cuomo are all grieving the family's loss.
U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III also gave tribute to his cousin Maeve and her son on Twitter on Saturday.
He wrote: "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."
The most heartbreaking tribute came on Saturday when Maeve's husband and Gideon's father, David, a lawyer at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, wrote: "It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small.
"It is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away.
In his tribute, David said: "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.
"You could hear Maeve's laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot."
The father also paid tribute to his late son, Gideon.
He wrote: "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.
"It is impossible to sum up Gideon here.
"I am heartbroken to even have to try.
"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."
The tributes followed a statement from Maeve's mother, Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who said: "With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery."
The family were reportedly quarantining amidst the coronavirus crisis at Kathleen's house.
Writing in his Facebook post, David also spoke about the rescue mission: "Despite heroic efforts by the Coast Guard and many state and local authorities, the decision has now been made to suspend the active rescue effort.
"The search that began yesterday afternoon went on throughout the night and continued all day today.
"It is now dark again. It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small."
Maeve and Gideon were kicking a ball near the water, when it went into the water, David said.
The duo went out in a canoe to retrieve it, but "got farther out then they could handle, and couldn’t get back in," McKean told The Washington Post.
A statement from Maryland's Department of Natural Resources Police shared by Hogan's spokesperson said police responded just before 5 p.m. on Friday to a call of two people who "appeared to have be overtaken by the strong winds" in the Chesapeake Bay.
"The 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," the statement said.
Maryland's DNR Police on Friday that a canoe matching the description of the one the mother and son used had been found, however.
"At approximately 7:00 p.m., an overturned canoe, matching the approximate description of the one which the pair were in, was located," a statement said.
The boat reportedly washed up in Rockhold Creek.
The tragedy is the latest to befall the prominent family – with some believing they are the victims of a 'Kennedy curse."
As the closest thing America has to a royal family, the Kennedy's have been faced with decades of tragedy – leading
Edward Kennedy, John and Robert's brother, to himself debate if there is a family 'curse.'
Maeve and Gideon's disappearance comes just months after the Kennedy Family mourned the death of 22-year-old Saoirse Kennedy Hill, who died of a suspected drug overdose.
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