Sheila Abdus-Salaam, New York appeals court judge, found dead in Hudson River

Screengrab via Project Brownstone/YouTube

Police are investigating how Judge Abdus-Salaam ended up in the Hudson.

Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an associate judge on the New York State Court of Appeals and the first female Muslim judge in the United States, was found dead on Wednesday in the Hudson River, the New York Times reported. She was 65.

According to the New York Police Department, their harbor unit responded to a report of a person floating by the river’s shore near upper Manhattan at approximately 1:45pm local time. Judge Abdus-Salaam was taken to a pier and pronounced dead shortly after 2pm.

Police are investigating how Judge Abdus-Salaam ended up in the river, though authorities say they found no signs of criminality or signs on trauma of her body. She lived in Harlem and, according to DNAinfo, her husband filed a missing person report on Tuesday.

Judge Abdus-Salaam began serving on the state’s Court of Appeals in 2013, where she was the first black woman to serve on the bench and resided on the First Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court as an associate justice four years prior. She served as a State Supreme Court justice for 15 years, becoming the first female Muslim judge in the country in 1994.

In a statement made Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was proud to appoint Judge Abdus-Salaam to the highest court, and is deeply saddened by her passing.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest sympathies to her family, loved ones and colleagues during this trying and difficult time,” Cuomo’s statement read.

H/T the New York Times

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.