Grieving widower Rev Gregory Jacobs [left], has debunked theories that his wife, Court of Appeals judge, Sheila Abdus-Salaam[right], took her own life when her body washed ashore on the Hudson river
The husband of a respected state judge whose body was found floating in the Hudson River last week dismissed reports that she committed suicide.
“Those of us who loved [the judge] and knew her well do not believe that these unfounded conclusions have any basis in reality,” said the Rev. Gregory Jacobs, who reported his wife missing.
Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, 65, was discovered floating in the water off the shoreline at W. 132nd St., about a mile from her Harlem home. Last week a police source hinted that the first female judge on New York’s highest court likely took her own life after a recent battle with depression.
Rev. Gregory Jacobs, held up “media outlets and others” that “have conjectured that Sheila was the victim of a ‘probable suicide.’”
The late judge’s husband of one year, issued his statement one week after police declared there was no sign of trauma or injury consistent with a homicide.“These reports have frequently included unsubstantiated comments concerning my wife’s possible mental and emotional state of mind at the time of her death,”
“ … in the absence of any conclusive evidence, we believe such speculation to be unwarranted and irresponsible,” Rev Jacobs said.
Still, an autopsy done after the state Court of Appeals judge’s body was found on April 12 determined the cause of death was inconclusive.
In the absence of a suicide note or any witnesses, the NYPD has reversed the early declaration, instead has labeled the death suspicious as the investigation continues.
So far the reconstruction of the judge’s last hours, captured by at least six surveillance cameras show Judge Abdus-Salaam, walking alone with no one following her.
One video shows the Court of Appeals Judge several hundred feet from the river, sources said.
The final clip, recorded around 12:30 a.m. on April 12, tallies with the estimated 12 hours her body spent in the water.
The medical examiner planned additional tests to determine exactly what killed Abdus-Salaam who became the first black woman to serve on the state’s highest court.
Her family also released a Wednesday statement offering their thanks to all who offered their sympathy and support after the judge’s body was found.
The statement went on to clarify that media reports that the judge’s mother and brother had committed suicide were inaccurate. The family matriarch passed away at age 92, while her younger brother succumbed to lung cancer in 2014.
A public memorial service for the pioneering judge was set for May 26 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the family announced.