The husband of the late Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam has stepped forward to speak on the speculation that his wife took her life, disputing claims that the esteemed official committed suicide.
Abdus-Salaam’s body was found in the Hudson River on April 12.
The NYPD ruled the case suspicious last week, but details surrounding her death are scarce. The prominent judge allegedly suffered from depression, but the way in which her body was found is not a clear indication of a suicide attempt.
“Despite the ongoing investigation, some media outlets and others have conjectured that Sheila 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,” Rev. Canon Gregory A. Jacobs, who serves in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, wrote in a statement on the judge’s website.
“Those of us who loved Sheila and knew her well do not believe that these unfounded conclusions have any basis in reality. And in the absence of any conclusive evidence, we believe such speculations to be unwarranted and irresponsible.”
The judge’s extended family also criticized what they said were inaccurate reports that Abdus-Salaam’s mother and brother had committed suicide, according to the statement:
“Sheila’s mother, the matriarch of our family who died at age 92 in 2012, did not take her own life. Shelia’s younger brother, who died in 2014, lost his battle with terminal lung cancer.”
But adding more confusion to the report is a friend of Abdus-Salaam, who claims she was overwhelmed with work before she passed.
“What she shared with me is she had been under a lot of stress recently and that she was having trouble sleeping,” said Marilyn Mobley, an official at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland who saw her friend for breakfast in New York two weeks ago, The Washington Post reports. “The truth is she was accomplished, resilient and strong, and she had a breaking point like everyone else. I fear it got there.”
Jacobs will be working with the NYPD in hopes that more information about her death will come to light. A public memorial service will be held on Friday, May 26 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.