Police are reportedly investigating the death of a New York judge as a possible suicide, according to multiple news reports.
Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first female Muslim judge to be appointed in the US, was found dead in the Hudson River on Wednesday afternoon, according to a New York Post report.
Witnesses called 911 when they found 65-year-old Abdus-Salaam’s fully clothed body in the river near 132nd Street and Hudson Parkway, the police said. Abdus-Salaam was reportedly wearing running clothes, including a black zipper-hooded sweatshirt, black sweatpants, a grey T-shirt and New Balance sneakers.
A Metrocard was also recovered from her body and investigators found her cell phone had been left at her home. According to investigators via the New York Times, they believe she had not been in the water long.
According to CNN, her husband reported to police that she was last heard from around 9am on Tuesday, when she called her secretary at her Midtown Manhattan chambers to report she would not be coming in to work that day because she was not feeling well.
According to the New York Times, the the associate judge on New York’s highest court’s assistant contacted Abdus-Salaam’s husband when she did not come in to work Wednesday morning, leading her husband to call 911 and report her missing.
Officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told the New York Times that the judge had left work Monday and was spotted getting onto the No. 6 subway line around 8pm, according to the investigation.
Citing unnamed police sources, the Post said Abdus-Salaam’s body showed no signs of foul-play injuries or trauma. Her husband reportedly identified her body.
CNN reported the investigation found that Abdus-Salaam’s brother had committed suicide around this time three years ago. As well, according to the New York Times, around this time one year ago Abdus-Salaam’s mother had died. In addition to the deaths of her family, the trailblazing judge was also reportedly facing stress from work. However, no suicide note has been found.
According to the New York Police Department, a medical examiner will soon determine Abdus-Salaams official cause of death.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, via the Post, that Abdus-Salaam was a “pioneer” and “a force for good.” Cuomo said of Abdus-Salaam, who was also the state’s first female African-American judge to be appointed to its Court of Appeals, he “was proud to appoint her” and is “deeply saddened by her passing.”