The Rev. Canon Gregory A. Jacobs Statement

April 19, 2017

It has been a week since our beloved Sheila’s body was discovered in the Hudson River. Since that day, the New York Police Department has conducted a vigorous investigation, but has been unable to determine a conclusive cause of death. A recent statement by the NYPD now calls the circumstances involving the investigation “suspicious.” We are truly thankful for their efforts and pray that the facts will ultimately be made known.

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. 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.

We therefore call upon the media and responsible public officials to refrain from any baseless commentary and conjecture concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of our beloved Sheila.

Sheila loved Harlem and its people and lived there for nearly all of her adult life. 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.

Finally, I wish to thank each and every one of you—family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and admirers—for your continued prayers, personal stories, and words of encouragement and support.

–The Rev. Canon Gregory A. Jacobs, husband of the Honorable Sheila Abdus-Salaam