The body of an Arkansas state judge was found in a lake over the weekend in what authorities have ruled an accidental drowning.
The body of Arkansas County District Judge Jeremiah Bueker, 48, was recovered from Mud Lake near a cabin he had rented with his family in the northeastern part of the state. Mud Lake is approximately 40 miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee.
“His family had a weekend at a cabin on the family’s property,” Jefferson County Sheriff Maj. Gary McClain said, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“It appears he decided to go swimming … and he went missing. No one was with him, he was alone,” he added.
A family member called 911 after Bueker did not return after sunset, according to a statement released by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were dispatched just before midnight late Saturday.
Search teams continued into early Sunday, with a boat using equipment that detected a body at the bottom of the lake at approximately 9:16 a.m. local time.
“The boats used were equipped with side-scan sonar, which provides a birds-eye view of the water,” Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. said.
The body was then recovered and positively identified by the family.
“I truly pray that the successful recovery of Judge Bueker’s body by our deputies and Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officers brings some sense of closure to the Bueker Family and those who knew him best,” Woods shared. “The scour of emotions they must feel right now is devastating.”
Bueker’s death is being investigated as an accidental drowning. An autopsy is also planned, according to the statement.
Bueker, who also served as the lead attorney of his own law firm in Stuttgart, had been a district judge in Arkansas since 2012.
Stuttgart Mayor Norma King Strabala shared a statement in a Facebook post regarding the incident.
“I, along with the City of Stuttgart and the Grand Prairie community are shocked and heartbroken at the loss of Jeremy Bueker,” she wrote.
“Jeremy was an important and special person in this community, serving as a good friend, fierce attorney, and as Arkansas County Northern District Court Judge for nearly a decade. I am praying for Sunny, his family and this community as we mourn this tragic loss,” Strabala’s statement added.
The mayor also posted that the trial court for the Northern District of Arkansas scheduled for Thursday was canceled out of respect for Bueker.