PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Circuit Court Judge Nathan Curtis Lee, of Hopewell, was found dead in his office at the Prince George County Courthouse Sunday night, according to Prince George County Police.
Foul play was not suspected in the 60-year-old judge's New Year's Day death, according to investigators.
"During the evening hours of January 1st, police and fire/EMS were called to the Prince George County Courthouse regarding an unresponsive male," a news release from Prince George County Police Chief W. Keith Early stated. "Upon arrival, they found the deceased judge in his office."
As news began to spread about Judge Lee’s death, colleagues and friends of 20 years expressed grief and shock Monday morning.
"Just awful to think he would be gone at such a young age and still so vital as a Jurist, as a Husband, a Father," said George Eliades.
Peter Eliades said he woke up to the news Monday morning.
"This has just been a horrible morning, horrible," he said.
Another friend and colleague of Judge Lee, Adrienne Eliades, expressed similar sentiments.
"Distraught for him but shock, absolute shock for me, to the point that you didn't know how to react," she said.
Lee, a 6th District Circuit Court judge, had practiced law in Virginia for over 30 years and was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in 2012.
Friends described Lee as the type of judge who worked hard at trying to make the right decision.
“He was patient, wanted to hear what everyone had to say, didn't cut you off," said Adrienne.
"He was competent, he was capable, he was always concerned with the right decision, the fair decision, not just what the law said, but what should be done in a case," said George.
On a more personal level, Peter said Judge Lee was a great friend who married his childhood sweet heart, Rhonda, and was very proud of his two daughters.
Prince George County Police Department, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, is further investigating Lee's death.