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Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam looks on as members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee vote unanimously to advance her nomination to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. If confirmed by the full Senate, she will be the first African-American woman on the seven-member Court of Appeals. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

The death of New York's first African-American, Muslim judge is being treated as a suicide


UPDATE April 13, 1:46 p.m. EST:

Though the investigation is ongoing, New York police are treating the death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American, Muslim judge to be appointed to New York's highest court, as a suicide, the New York Times reported. 

Her death comes roughly three years after her brother had committed suicide, and nearly a year after her mother died.

ORIGINAL STORY: An appeals court judge who became the first Muslim and African-American woman appointed to New York's highest court was found dead near the shore of Manhattan's Hudson River, the New York Post reported. Sheila Abdus-Salaam, 65, was found fully clothed, floating on the river just before 2 p.m.

Her husband filed a missing person request on Tuesday and was subsequently brought in to identify the body.

According to police, there were no signs of obvious trauma or injuries indicating foul play.

The trailblazing judge was appointed to New York's appeals court in 2013 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

“As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the State’s Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer,” Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. “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."

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest sympathies to her family, loved ones and colleagues during this trying and difficult time,” the governor added.

District Attorney Madeline Singas paid tribute to Abdus-Salaam in a series of tweets.


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