TAMPA — Former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan accidentally drowned in a hot tub at her vacation home in Georgia, a county coroner said Monday.
A neighbor who grew concerned after hearing Sheehan’s dog barking found her face down in the hot tub at the cabin in Blue Ridge on Christmas morning, according to Fannin County coroner Becky Callihan.
Investigators believe Sheehan, 60, fell, hit her head and then drowned, Callihan said.
“They found evidence where she had hit her nose,” Callihan said. “Her glasses had scratched her nose when she went down.”
Sheehan had been dead for several hours before she was discovered, Callihan said.
The Medical Examiner’s Office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation made the determination. An autopsy report and toxicology results were not yet complete Monday.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Sheehan’s death on Thursday but the cause of death was not available at the time.
Outspoken and independent, Ms. Sheehan was a widely respected lawyer and jurist known as an advocate for children. Among the more colorful characters to sit on the Hillsborough County bench, she had worked as a mediator in family law cases since her retirement in 2017 after 11 years as a judge.