Former Florida judge drowns in hot tub at Georgia home

A former Florida circuit judge accidentally drowned in a hot tub at her vacation home in North Georgia, according to a coroner.

A neighbor found Tracy Sheehan, 60, face down in the hot tub on Christmas morning, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The neighbor said she grew concerned after hearing the judge’s dog barking, said Becky Callihan, the coroner in Fannin County.

Investigators believe Sheehan 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.”

News reports said Sheehan had been dead for several hours before the neighbor found her body.

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.

Sheehan was a former Hillsborough Circuit judge known for a no-nonsense approach on the bench, according to reports by news station WFTS, the ABC affiliate in Tampa.

She was a respected lawyer and jurist known as an advocate for children and domestic violence survivors. She had worked as a mediator in family law cases since her retirement in 2017 after 11 years as a judge.

“She was inspiring and fierce,” longtime friend Wendy LaTorre told the station. “She was one of the loudest voices and a voice that we needed.”

Reports said the judge had overcome breast cancer and often rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to work.