Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a 65-year-old associate judge of New York's highest court and the first African-American Muslim woman to serve as US Judge, was found dead in the Hudson River in New York on Wednesday about 1:45 p.m. local time, police said. Abdus-Salaam was found floating in the river fully clothed with no signs of physical trauma, with the cause of death still undetermined.
According to The Guardian, the whole thing is deemed conspicuous by her family and investigators as Abdus-Salaam was reported missing last Tuesday. After failing to turn up, she was next found floating in Harlem the day after and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Court of Appeals was shocked about the misfortune bestowed on Abdus-Salaam. Several top officials, judges, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as well offered their condolences to her family, and in a statement, Mr. Cuomo said: "Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a fairer and more just New York for all."
"As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the state's Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer," he added. "Through her writings, her wisdom and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come," The Telegraph reported.
Her family was already notified and an autopsy will take place to determine the cause of her death. The police didn't speculate whether foul play was involved and further investigation is still underway to shed light on this unfortunate event.
Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam broke the US judicial history when she was instated into the court of appeals by Andrew Cuomo in 2013. She began her career as a judge in 1991 and has slowly worked her way up since then.
One of her oldest colleagues, Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said that the death of his friend is "difficult to understand" and that "the court has suffered a terrible blow."