Founder of African American museum found dead in trunk of car
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An icon of the Baton Rouge community was found dead in the trunk of a car Friday afternoon. An autopsy to determine the cause of death for Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, was performed Monday, July 15 and revealed she died from traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation.
According to officials with the Baton Rouge Police Department, Roberts-Joseph found at roughly 3:45 p.m. on Friday, July 12. Joseph is the founder of non-profit, Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African American History.
On Tuesday, July 16, an arrest was made in the case.
Ronn Jermaine Bell has been charged with first degree murder in connection with Roberts-Joseph’s death. It’s believed Bell was one of Roberts-Joseph’s tenants and was behind about $1,200 in rent.
East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome expressed her condolences Sunday with a post published on Instagram.
The car was found in the 2300 block of N 20th Street, which is located off I-110 near Choctaw.
BRPD commented on its Facebook page about Roberts-Joseph:
“Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace in the community. We had opportunities to work with her on so many levels. From assisting with her bicycle giveaway at the African American Museum to working with the organization she started called CADAV (Community Against Drugs and Violence). Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community. She will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served.”
Preserve Louisiana also released a statement on Roberts-Joseph’s death. She received an award from the organization in 2008.
"Preserve Louisiana joins our community, our state, and our country in mourning the loss of Sadie Roberts-Joseph and in celebrating her invaluable work. Ms. Sadie, one of our 2008 Preservation Award Recipients, worked tirelessly in cultural preservation over several generations.
Michele' Deshotels, Chairperson of Preserve Louisiana's Preservation Awards Committee, shares her appreciation in the following statement: "Ms. Sadie Roberts-Joseph was a historic preservationist widely known throughout Louisiana for her leadership and work in establishing and operating the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum. The preservation community has lost a valued colleague and friend."
We are committed to working with other community members and partners to support her work moving forward. We extend our condolences to all feeling the weight of this incredible loss."
Roberts-Joseph’s home is located on Kaufman Street, which is roughly three and a half miles from where her body was found.
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