Arkansas Judge Jeremiah T. Bueker was found dead at the bottom of a mud lake in Jefferson County on Sunday. He was 48.
The judge was spending time with relatives and friends during a “recreational” outing over the weekend when he ventured off alone, authorities said.
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His family called 911 after they couldn’t find him on Saturday.
After an extensive search by the County Sheriff’s Deputies, Judge Bueker’s body was found at 9:16 on Sunday morning.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Sunday:
BODY OF ARKANSAS COUNTY NORTHERN DISTRICT COURT JUDGE LOCATED, RECOVERED IN LAKE: Jefferson County, Arkansas – August 7, 2022 – The body of Arkansas County Northern District Judge Jeremiah T. Bueker, 48 has been recovered.
Bueker, several family members and friends spent their weekend in Jefferson County, Arkansas as part of their recreational travel. At some point during their outing, Bueker reportedly ventured off alone. After time had passed and no one had seen or heard from Bueker, worry began to set in. A search for Bueker by family and friends began.
Bueker was last seen near Mud Lake, which channels into the Arkansas River just north of Achorn Drive in Reydell, Arkansas. Unable to immediately locate Bueker and well past sunset, Bueker’s Family called 9-1-1.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched by the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Association (MECA) just before midnight and immediately responded. Upon arrival, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol, joined wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission began an extensive ground and water search. Boats were deployed to aid in the search of Bueker. The continued well into the early morning before both ground and water searches were suspended due to low visibility.
Just after sunrise, deputies and wildlife officers resumed their search for Bueker and scoured the depth and breadth of Mud Lake.
“The boats used were equipped with side-scan sonar, which provides a birds-eye view of the water, Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. said.”
At approximately 9:16 a.m., the side-scan sonar revealed a body on the bottom of the lake. Deputies utilized subsurface body recovery drag/rescue hooks to recover Bueker’s body. Upon recovery of the body, deputies and investigators with the assistance of family positively identified the body as that of Bueker.
Sheriff Woods said, “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.”
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office was notified and arrived at the scene a short time later, where Bueker was pronounced deceased. Bueker’s death is being investigated as an accidental drowning; however, his body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
CBS News reported:
The body of an Arkansas judge was found at the bottom of a lake some 70 miles east of Little Rock on Sunday morning, after local authorities conducted a search that lasted most of the previous night.
Jeremiah T. Bueker, the 48-year-old Arkansas County Northern District judge, had planned to spend the weekend in that area with family members and friends, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. When he left the group on Saturday to explore on his own and did not return, Bueker’s family and friends told police that they tried searching for him themselves without success. Since the sun had already set, they reported Bueker missing.
The sheriff’s office said a team of deputies was dispatched just before midnight and responded to the call “immediately.” Coordinating with wildlife officers at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the county’s marine patrol unit carried out what the sheriff’s office described as an “extensive ground and water search” for Bueker, whose loved ones said he was last seen near Mud Lake. The lake is located on the outskirts of the Arkansas River and at one junction drains into the river itself…
…The sonar system detected Bueker’s body at the bottom of Mud Lake around 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, according to the sheriff’s office. Once the body had been recovered, deputies and investigators confirmed Bueker’s identity with help from his friends and family. His death is currently being investigated as an accidental drowning, although the sheriff’s office noted that his body will still be sent to the State Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
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