Police Look To Uncover Judge's Movements Before Death


The death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a pioneering appeals court judge in NYC, is being treated as suspicious by the NYPD as questions remain about how she ended up in the Hudson where she was found dead last week.

The medical examiner has not yet determined the cause of Abdus-Salaam's death, so investigators are still looking at all possibilities, police said.

The judge's extended family also weighed-in on Abdus-Salaam, who was born Sheila Turner and who was widely hailed as the nation's first female Muslim judge.

"Obviously, we're still waiting for the full investigation, but to the extent that the challenges and the stresses in her life contributed to this, it's a reminder that even the most accomplished people still deal with extraordinary challenges inward, and we don't get to see that", Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters last week.

The Daily News said she had recently begun taking medication for "darkening moods".

During a press conference last week, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters that it's "too early to tell" whether the judge took her own life. "It appears to be noncriminal at this point".

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Abdus-Salaam had spent the weekend in New Jersey with her husband, and spoke to her assistant on Tuesday morning.

She was found floating in the Hudson River, on the west side of Manhattan about 1:45. Associate Judge on New York State Court of Appeals Rowan D. Wilson joined her on the court this year, and it was the first time that the Court of Appeals has ever had two Black justices. She was then appointed to the Court of Appeals by Cuomo in 2013.

And after the state Senate confirmed her nomination, Abdus-Salaam received a standing ovation. This is a time to mourn the loss of a woman who did important work and paved the way for her successors to be able to continue her work. When a colleague noted she was missing from work for a second day, they called her husband of eight months, who reported her missing.

Tributes for Abdus-Salaam continued to pour in. "We owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude", said Lambda Legal, an LGBT-advocacy organization.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, a Columbia classmate, said she "defined herself by her relentless pursuit of excellence".