Category Archives: Statements

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

Turner Family Statement

April 19, 2017

We, the family of Sheila Abdus-Salaam, are devastated at the loss of our sister, aunt, and cousin.  She was an extraordinary woman. We loved her dearly, and were extremely proud of her. Sheila’s unwavering support to our family and her friends was exemplary. We will forever reflect on her courage, determination and strength that was capstoned by her modest, humble and beautiful spirit. Her legacy of high standards, morals and values will extend far beyond the courtroom to the many lives she touched and inspired in our family and around the world!

As we await the outcome of the investigation into the circumstances associated with her death, we want to correct some inaccuracies that have been reported in the media. 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. Additionally, Sheila has not been a practicing Muslim for the past 20 years. She continued to use her first husband’s surname professionally. We will forever remember witnessing her happiness as she united in marriage to an Episcopal priest last year.

We would like to thank everyone who has reached out to us with acts of kindness and expression of sympathy during this difficult time. At this time, we are requesting privacy as we grieve the loss of our beloved Sheila. Media may contact Rebecca Wilson ( or 330-524-2067.

–the Turner family

Jacobs Family Statement

April 13, 2017

Dearest Friends:

We are deeply grieved at the untimely passing of Sheila Abdus-Salaam, whom her family mourns as a beloved wife and devoted stepmother. She gave tirelessly and selflessly as a public servant, mentor, distinguished jurist, and community leader throughout her 40-year legal career. She was greatly admired for compassion, wisdom, commitment to excellence, and revered for her support of and sensitivity to the aspirations of young lawyers and law students.

With great humility and gratitude, we acknowledge the many expressions and outpourings of love, faith, and hope from friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark has been a particular solace to us at this difficult time. We find comfort in discovering that our Sheila was so deeply loved and respected by so many.

While moved that so many of you wish to be in direct contact with us during this difficult time, we respectfully request that the privacy of our family be respected and that all further inquiries be directed to the New York Court of Appeals Public Information Office (518-455-7711) or to Canticle Communications ( or 330-524-2067).

Charlotte Jacobs
Stephanie Jacobs Snyder
The Rev. Canon Greg Jacobs