A North Carolina judge has drowned after jumping into a river to help his struggling son near a home he had been building.

The Charlotte Observer reported Monday that Burke County District Court Judge John Mull of Drexel drowned Sunday evening in the Catawba River. Sheriff John McDevitt says Mull had jumped into the river to help his 17-year-old son who was experiencing cramps.

McDevitt said the son made it to shore, but the judge was found in about 9 feet of water. Rescuers couldn't revive Mull.

Mull and his family have been building a house near the river and planned to move into it soon.