An Arkansas judge was found dead at the bottom of a lake Sunday morning after he disappeared during a trip with family and friends, authorities said.
Jeremiah T. Bueker, the 48-year-old Arkansas County Northern District Judge, was spending his weekend in Jefferson County, southeast of Little Rock, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Officials said Bueker ventured off alone and was last seen near Mud Lake, north of Reydell. After sunset, no one had seen or heard from Bueker for some time, and his family alerted authorities.
Several agencies, along with the sheriff’s department, began an “extensive ground and water search” on Saturday, just before midnight. The search continued into early Sunday, but was suspended due to low visibility, authorities said.
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Shortly after sunrise, deputies and wildlife officers resumed their search for Bueker in Mud Lake. Just after 9 a.m., a side-scan sonar revealed a body at the bottom of the lake. Rescuers recovered the body, which was identified as Bueker.
“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. The scour of emotions they must feel right now is devastating,” Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said in the release.
Authorities said Bueker’s death is being investigated as an accidental drowning, but his body is being sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.