United States first female Muslim judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam was found dead in New York's Husdson River on Wednesday, police said.
Abdus-Salaam, a 65-year-old old black jurist, was an associate judge of New York's highest court. Officers with the New York Police Department's Harbour Unit on Wednesday afternoon responded to a report of a person floating by the shore near West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan.
A police spokesperson said that she was found floating off Manhattan's west side at about 1:45 pm EDT (1545 GMT). He said that police pulled out the jurist's fully-clothed body from the water and she was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. Abdus-Salaam's body was identified by her husband, an autopsy would reveal the cause of her death. Police said that there was no signs of trauma on her body.
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Abdus-Salaam was also the first African-American woman who was appointed to the Court of Appeals when Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo named her to New York's high court in 2013.
Cuomo released a statement on Wednesday stating that Judge Abdus-Salaam was a pioneer with an "unshakable moral compass".
"Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all," Cuomo in a statement said.
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The New York Post, while citing unidentified sources, said that the jurist was reported missing from her New York home earlier on Wednesday. Her family could not be reached for a comment.
Abdus-Salaam, who was a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School, began her career in law with East Brooklyn Legal Services and served as a New York state assistant attorney general, the Court of Appeals website states.
Judge Abdus-Salaam had been one of seven judges on the State Court of Appeals since 2013. She had also served as a lawyer of New York's Law Department.