The husband of a trailblazing New York judge who was found floating in the Hudson River last week appealed to the public Wednesday for help in unraveling the mystery of how she died.
The Rev. Gregory Jacobs also pushed back strongly against reports that Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to sit on New York State’s highest court, “was the victim of a ‘probable suicide.'” “These reports have frequently included unsubstantiated comments concerning my wife’s possible mental and emotional state of mind at the time of her death,” Jacobs, who is a minister at the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, wrote in a statement. “Those of us who loved Sheila and knew her well do not believe that these unfounded conclusions have any basis in reality.”
Abdus-Salaam, her widower wrote, “loved Harlem and its people and lived there for nearly all of her adult life.” “I now join with the NYPD in asking anyone in the neighborhood to step forward with any information that might help us determine what may have happened during those hours before her death,” the priest pleaded.
Canon’s first public comments on the 65-year-old judge’s death came a week after Abdus-Salaam was found in the waters off of Manhattan. She was dressed in sweats, had a MetroCard in her pocket, and police said her body showed no obvious signs of trauma. The NYPD has characterized the circumstances surrounding the death of Abdus-Salaam as “suspicious in nature.” But neither the police nor Medical Examiner has established how she died.