On April 2, 2020, McKean and her eight-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean, went missing while paddling in a canoe near McKean's mother's waterfront residence in Shady Side, Maryland. McKean had taken her family to Maryland to stay in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports from the Maryland Natural Resources Police say they were attempting to retrieve a kickball that had landed in the water. Due to high winds, they were swept further out into the Chesapeake Bay. Fire officials from Anne Arundel County received an emergency call at 4:30 PM that day from a man who reported seeing a woman and her son, presumably the McKeans, in a small canoe near the community pier at Columbia Beach. McKean and her son were last sighted ten miles south of Annapolis, near Herring Bay. Marine units from the Queen Anne's County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department, Maryland State Police, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, as well as the United States Coast Guard, searched the Chesapeake by boat and helicopter. Natural Resources Police reported that an overturned canoe was found around 7:00 PM on April 3, 2020, near Rockhold Creek in Deale Later that night, after twenty-six hours, the Coast Guard suspended its search. At 7:30 PM, Maryland officials called off the search due to darkness. As of April 3, 2020, she and her son were presumed dead. On April 4, 2020, the search was resumed by Maryland police.