An Arkansas judge who went missing while on a trip with family and friends was found at the bottom of a lake Sunday, according to authorities.
Arkansas County Northern District Judge Jeremiah Bueker, 48, embarked on a weekend trip with family and friends in Jefferson County, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
During the trip Bueker “ventured off alone,” according to the sheriff’s office. After he hadn’t returned for a long period of time, family and friends reportedly began to worry and immediately launched a search. (RELATED: REPORT: 3 Men Missing After Trying To Save 8-Year-Old Struggling To Swim)
— KATV News (@KATVNews) August 7, 2022
Bueker was last seen near Mud Lake.
His family called authorities after they were unable to find Bueker and it was “well past sunset,” police said.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived to the scene just before midnight and authorities began “an extensive ground and water search” that continued “well into the early morning before both ground and water searches were suspended due to low visibility,” according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies resumed the search after sunrise, and at roughly 9:16 a.m. a side-scan sonar detected a body at the bottom of the lake.
“The boats used were equipped with side-scan sonar, which provides a birds-eye view of the water,” Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said, according to the press release.
Authorities pulled Bueker’s body from the water, and family members identified the judge. His body is being examined by the State Medical Examiner, the press release noted. Authorities are reportedly investigating the incident as an accidental drowning.
“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,” Sheriff Woods said. “The scour of emotions they must feel right now is devastating.”