Arkansas Judge Jeremiah T. Bueker was found at the bottom of Mud Lake on Sunday.
Bueker, 48, was recovered by deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, a press release issued by the agency said.
“The deceased sat as a judge in the Northern District of Arkansas County,” Law & Crime noted.
Bueker had gone missing on Saturday and his body was recovered at 9:16 AM on Sunday.
Authorities believe he tried to go swimming alone in the lake.
BREAKING REPORT: Arkansas Judge Jeremiah T. Bueker found dead at the bottom of Mud Lake on Sunday.
— DailyNoah.com (@DailyNoahNews) August 8, 2022
— KATV News (@KATVNews) August 7, 2022
Jeremiah T. Bueker, the Arkansas County Northern District Judge, reportedly went missing during a weekend trip with family and friends. https://t.co/ku3WVG0ySD
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 8, 2022
From the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office:
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.
“Jeremy was an important and special person in this community, serving as a good friend, fierce attorney, and as Arkansas County Northern District Court Judge for nearly a decade,” Stuttgart Mayor Norma Strabala wrote on Facebook.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette added:
Maj. Gary McClain of the Jefferson County sheriff’s office said Bueker was last seen alive Saturday evening.
“His family had a weekend at a cabin on the family’s property,” McClain said. “They were riding side-by-sides [utility task vehicles] and returned back to the cabin. It appears he decided to go swimming after maybe being dusty, and he went missing. No one was with him; he was alone.”
According to McClain, the family said Bueker was an avid swimmer, so it wouldn’t be unexpected for him to jump in the lake for a quick swim. He said the family searched for a couple of hours on their own before authorities were dispatched.
The release says Bueker was last seen near Mud Lake, which channels into the Arkansas River just north of Acorn Drive in Reydell in east Jefferson County.
Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched by the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Association late Saturday night, the release says. The Jefferson County sheriff’s office Marine Patrol joined wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to begin an extensive ground and water research.