A top New York City judge, who in 1994 became the first black woman to be appointed to the state’s Court of Appeals, was found dead in the Hudson River on Wednesday. She was 65.
Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam’s body was discovered just before 2 p.m. Wednesday along the river’s shore near Harlem, one day after she was reported missing.
Police say her body showed no obvious signs of trauma, according to TIME. Her exact cause of death is still being determined.
A law enforcement official told The New York Times investigators found no signs of criminality. Her husband identified her body.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday that Abdus-Salaam was a pioneer with an “unshakable moral compass.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also paid tribute to the justice in a tweet on Wednesday, writing, “Deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Sheila Abdus-Salaam. She was a humble pioneer.”
“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,” he added according to the Times.
Abdus-Salaam grew up in Washington, one of seven children and earned her law degree from Columbia University in 1977, the Times reported.
She became a public defender in Brooklyn, and represented people who could not afford lawyers, then served as an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State attorney general’s office.