Sheila Abdus-Salaam was found floating in the Hudson River last week and authorities weren’t able to determine an exact cause of death. After not being able to establish whether or not a criminal element was involved, the death of the history-making New York City judge has been ruled “suspicious in nature.”
While it was widely implied that Abdus-Salaam may have ended her own life, those closest to her pushed back against that narrative ever since she was found. As it was originally reported that her mother and younger brother both died by suicide, Abdus-Salaam’s family took time to clarify that this wasn’t the case.
“Sheila’s mother, the matriarch of our family who died at age 92 in 2012, did not take her own life,” their statement read, according to NBCNews. “Shelia’s younger brother, who died in 2014, lost his battle with terminal lung cancer.”
Her husband, Rev. Gregory Jacobs, was one of the most vocal deniers that his wife had ended her own life.
“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 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.”
“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,” he continued.
Abdus-Salaam and Jones had reportedly been married for a year while she continued to work under the surname she took after marrying her first husband, Sharif Abdus-Salaam.