Arkansas judge found dead in lake while on family trip

Jeremiah Bueker's death is being investigated as a possible accidental drowning.

Authorities said the body was found at the bottom of a lake in Mud Lake in eastern Arkansas. Arkansas Judge Jeremiah Bueker was found lifeless at the bottom of the lake.
Mud Lake, in eastern Arkansas. Bueker had disappeared during a trip he was taking with his family and friends over the weekend.

According to the official police statement, the judge "was in Jefferson County for a recreational trip with loved ones, but at some point during the trip he ventured out alone and was not seen alive again."


Bueker was last seen near Mud Lake, where he decided to wander unaccompanied. "After time had passed and no one had seen or heard from him, the concern began," the report said. "The search for Bueker by family and friends began." Hours later, the family still couldn't find Bueker, so they called 911. The sheriff's office and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission agents conducted a land and water search late into the night. However, the search was interrupted due to low visibility.

On Sunday morning, the search resumed as authorities scoured the lake using special side-scan sonar boats. This allowed them to get "a panoramic view of the water," said Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. in the press release. "At approximately 9:16 a.m., side scan sonar revealed a body on the bottom of the lake." The family assisted authorities in identifying Bueker's body.

Body recovered

"I sincerely pray that the recovery of Judge Bueker's body by our deputies and Arkansas Game and Fish officials will bring some sense of closure to the Bueker family and those who knew him best," Woods said.

April Davis, the Jefferson County deputy coroner who went to the scene, told CNN there were no signs of murder. He noted that the body was intact and without signs of trauma. According to Davis, an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner's Office is standard procedure. The autopsy is expected to be performed this week, with a report expected in about three to six months. The death is being investigated as an accidental drowning.

Bueker, 48, had a law firm bearing his name in Stuttgart, Arkansas. He was a licensed attorney for more than 20 years and was subsequently elected as a district judge in 2012. He was an "avid lover of the outdoors" and a "very proud father," he told the New York Post a Stuttgart city official.