The man who police believe killed Sadie Roberts-Joseph has been arrested.
According to WBRZ, Baton Rouge police arrested Ronn Bell, 38, and charged him with first-degree murder. Bell, a convicted sex offender, may have killed the longtime civil rights activist Roberts-Joseph, also his landlord, over late rent.
Police claim that Bell owed $1200 in back rent and are not sure if the 75-year-old even knew of Bell’s criminal record.
At a press conference held on Tuesday (July 16), Angela Machen, the daughter of Roberts-Joseph said that her mother’s only wish was for the “community to come together.”
“It’s ironic that happened in death. What she wanted to happen in life came to fruition in death,” adding, “She gave her all. Anyone who met my mother knew she gave it her all and as much as I would like to be home now wallowing in my own grief, I cannot do that to her. She worked so hard. She pushed. She got everything she could out of the 75 years that she lived.”
Last Friday, the 75-year-old Baton Rouge African-American history museum founder who was found dead in the trunk of her car. Officials confirmed on Monday that the homicide was a result of “traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation.”
Bell was arrested in 2007 and plead guilty to the sexual battery of a 9-year-old girl. Instead of facing a potential life sentence for aggravated rape, his plea deal allowed him to get out of prison after seven years, WBRZ noted.
Original Story: Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s Death Ruled A Homicide, ‘Traumatic Asphyxia’
Days after Sadie Roberts-Joseph, the 75-year-old Baton Rouge African-American history museum founder who was found dead in the trunk of her car, officials have confirmed that she was murdered.
According to CNN, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office determined that after conducting an autopsy Roberts-Joseph died from “traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation.” However, Coroner Beau Clark clarified that she was not strangled, saying without elaboration that her nose and mouth were blocked.
Clark and police are not releasing any more information about her death, including the types of wounds (if any) found on her body. A toxicology report will be conducted with the results being available in the next three weeks.
Last Friday afternoon, Roberts-Joseph’s body was discovered after an anonymous caller reported finding her in the trunk of her car, which was reportedly located three miles from her home.
Roberts-Joseph was known as a tenacious civil rights advocate and activist in the Baton Rouge area who founded the Odell S. Williams Now and then African American Museum in 2001. She also hosted annual Juneteenth festivities in the city.
In an emotional post on the Baton Rouge’s Facebook page, the longtime activist was hailed as a “tireless advocate of peace in the community.”
“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 give away 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,” they wrote.
Adding, “Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice.”
Her niece Pat LeDuff recently told CNN that her aunt was an “icon” and “a hero.”
Police are currently investigating her murder and have stressed that “there will be no investigative lead that will not be exhausted in this investigation.”
Rest in power Sadie.