The body of Shelia Abdus-Salaam, 65, a groundbreaking African-American legal expert who became the first Muslim woman to serve as a US judge was found dead in New York's Hudson River on Wednesday, police said.
Abdus-Salaam served as an associate judge of the Court of Appeals and was the first African-American woman to serve on New York's top court.
Shelia Abdus-Salaam had been reported missing earlier in the day. Witnesses noticed a body floating in the water near 132nd Street and Hudson Parkway in Manhattan at around 1.45pm Wednesday and called 911, police said.After her body was recovered from the river, her husband, Reverend Gregory Jacobs, confirmed her identity.
According to reports, there were no visible signs of trauma or physical injuries suggesting foul play. Police are still investigating.
Jonathan Lippman, who once served as the chief judge of the state Court of Appeals from 2009 to 2015, said Abdus-Salaam's death is a "terrible blow."
"I'm deeply saddened at having lost a dear friend and colleague, and the court has suffered a terrible blow". "She was a superb jurist and an even more superb human being," he continued. "I knew her for many, many years. To some degree, we grew up together in the court. I've known her in all her different roles in the court. It's just so shocking ... If you ask anyone about her, people would say only the most wonderful things. That's why it makes it even more difficult to understand."
The judge was divorced and remarried Reverend Gregory Jacobs of the Episcopal Archdiocese of Newark, in June 2016. The couple were said to be very happy, and chose to live in separate homes because of their jobs, a neighbor said.
Source: New York Post report