Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her 8-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean, have been reported missing since Thursday. The two were last seen setting out in a canoe into the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Md.

Townsend McKean is the grand-daughter of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the grand-niece of Joseph Patrick Kennedy.

Husband David McKean told The Washington Post, that the family was staying at a waterfront home owned by Townsend McKean's mother Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. The children were playing with a ball in the yard, and when it went into the water, Townsend McKean and her son hopped into a canoe to retrieve it. "They just got farther out than they could handle and couldn’t get back in," he told the paper. The conditions on the bay that day were notably choppy, with two- to three-foot waves.

A search for the pair began on Thursday and continued through Friday.

Though Townsend McKean never ran for office, she still continued her family's record of public service. After receiving a law degree, she joined the Peace Corps and then went on to work for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. She held posts in both the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration, and is currently the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative.

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A family spokesman has asked for privacy at this time.