Authorities have made an arrest in the shocking death of Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, a beloved activist and the founder of the Baton Rouge African American Museum in Louisiana.
According to NBC News, a former male tenant of Roberts-Joseph named Ronn Bell was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday.
The outlet states that Baton Rogue authorities are still looking for a motive but and have not yet released circumstantial evidence which ties Bell the crime. However Bell was reportedly living in one of Roberts-Joseph’s properties and was several months behind on rent.
Yesterday the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office released results of Roberts-Joseph’s preliminary autopsy which showed she died from “traumatic asphyxia” or suffocation. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Local community members were saddened after investigators discovered her body stuffed in the trunk of her car on Friday. Prior to her death she was responsible for founding the museum on the grounds of New St. Luke Baptist Church church in 2001, where her brother serves as pastor. Roberts-Joseph was a pillar in her community and the museum held artifacts of American history which displayed the pride, power, and pain of descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Roberts-Joseph’s family appeared on CNN moments after news of the arrest made headlines.
“It’s a great relief just to know that that part of the journey is over. That was the most important thing. At that particular time, was just who did it, why and where are you,” said Roberts-Joseph’s niece Pat McCallister-LeDuff. “So that part of it, we can sigh a little bit in terms of what actually happened and who did it.”
“She was an icon. She meant so much to this community to so many different people. It’s very hard to describe Sadie’s reaction with the community because she was on every level,” said Joseph-Roberts’ longtime friend C. Denise Marcelle. “She was an activist, she was a historian, she was an amazing woman and I’m certainly glad that someone is in custody for this crime.”