African American museum founder Sadie Roberts-Joseph death ruled homicide, coroner finds

Baton Rouge police are investigating the death of African American museum founder Sadie Roberts Joseph, whose body was found in a trunk of a car. / Source: WAFB
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB/Gray News) - Autopsy results have determined that Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, died from traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner confirmed Monday.

Her death has been ruled a homicide.

"It is with great sadness and respect we investigate any unexpected or traumatic death. When our investigation involves an innocent victim, such as Ms. Sadie Joseph, it is particularly tragic. Our condolences are extended to Ms. Joseph's family and friends," Beau Clark, EBR Coroner, said.

Information gathered by medical examiners during the autopsy may be able to help investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department learn the circumstances that led to Roberts-Joseph being discovered in the trunk of a car located roughly 3.5 miles away from her home.

Detectives have not released much information about what they've learned since the initial discovery, citing the need to protect the integrity of the investigation. However, investigators say many members of the public have come forward willing to cooperate in the case.

Anyone with information that can help police is urged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.

Roberts-Joseph is the founder of non-profit Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African American History. She was an icon of the Baton Rouge community.

The Baton Rouge Police Department released the following statement about her on its Facebook page:

"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."

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