(CNN) — An Arkansas judge was found dead at the bottom of a lake Sunday after he went missing while traveling with family and friends over the weekend, authorities said.
Arkansas County Northern District Judge Jeremiah Bueker, 48, was in Jefferson County on a “recreational trip” with loved ones, but somewhere along the way he “ventured out alone” and was not he was seen again alive, according to a news release from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. His death is being investigated as an accidental drowning, the office said.
Bueker was last seen near Mud Lake, where his body was later found, the sheriff’s office said.
“After time had passed and no one had seen or heard from Bueker, concern began to set in,” the statement said. “The search for Bueker by family and friends has begun.”
After sunset, the family still couldn’t find Bueker, so they called 911, according to the statement. The sheriff’s office and Arkansas Fish and Game Commission deputies conducted an extensive search on land and water well into the night and early morning.
Ultimately, the search had to be called off due to low visibility, the sheriff’s office said.
On Sunday morning, the search resumed as authorities scoured the lake using boats with side-scan sonar, allowing them to get “a bird’s-eye view of the water,” Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said in the statement.
“At approximately 9:16 a.m., side-scan sonar revealed a body on the bottom of the lake,” and deputies removed the body from the water, the sheriff’s office said.
The family helped authorities identify the recovered body as Bueker’s and the state medical examiner will perform an autopsy, the sheriff’s office said.
“I sincerely pray that the recovery of Judge Bueker’s body by our deputies and Arkansas fish and game officials brings some sense of closure to the Bueker family and those who knew him best,” Woods said.
CNN contacted the Stuttgart District Court, where Bueker was serving as a district judge.
April Davis, the Jefferson County deputy coroner who responded to the scene, said there were no signs of violence. She noted that the body was intact with no signs of trauma.
According to Davis, an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner’s Office is standard procedure. The body was transported to the office on Sunday and an autopsy is expected this week, with a report expected in three to six months, she said.
Mud Lake is in eastern Arkansas and is about 40 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee.
CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.