Authorities can now confirm Gideon McKean died by drowning.
On Monday, April 13, a spokesperson for the Maryland Dept. of Health told E! News: “The cause of death is drowning complicated by hypothermia, and the manner is an accident.”
A coroner was able to perform an autopsy on the body after it was recovered on April 8, nearly a week after the 8-year-old and his mother Maeve Kennedy Townsend went missing. According to authorities, his remains were 2,000 feet away from where his mother’s body was found. She also died by accidental drowning.
Maeve and Gideon went missing on April 2 after they jumped in a canoe to go after their ball, which had flown into the Chesapeake 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,” her husband previously shared.
Not long after the recovery of the remains, the Kennedy family hosted a virtual memorial service, opting to do so out of precaution amid the coronavirus. In a statement, Alan Fleischmann, the former chief of staff for Maeve’s mother, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, revealed “thousands” of people tuned into the services to remember the two individuals.
Mike Pont/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
“The family came together along with friend—of all ages—and from across the globe. The service and the number of attendees is a testimony of the enduring love and loss that is Maeve and Gideon. The service captured their enduring vitality and vividness,” he shared.
Maeve and Gideon were also remembered by David McKean in a Facebook post, in which he emotionally recalled the things he will miss most about them. “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,” David wrote in a lengthy post. “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. She was magical—with endless energy that she would put toward inventing games for our children, taking on another project at work or in our community, and spending time with our friends.”
As for Gideon, he called the 8-year-old a “deeply compassionate” and “brave” little boy.