Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Murdered BR icon's son's message to killer, 'She cared for you'

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UPDATE: Police say they're holding a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to release new details in the investigation.


BATON ROUGE - Investigators believe a beloved Baton Rouge activist was suffocated before her body was found stuffed in the trunk of a car Friday.

New details released by the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office Monday suggest 75-year-old Sadie Roberts-Joseph died by "traumatic asphyxia." Her body was found in the trunk of her own vehicle Friday, on the dead-end Adams Ave. near N 20th. 

Monday, her son Jason Roberts said his entire family is in disbelief that someone would kill his mom. He had this message for her killer.

"You stole light," Roberts said. "You stole a warm loving giving and caring woman and it wasn't just for her family. She cared for the city. She cared for you. Her life should not have ended that way. She did not deserve that, but she would want forgiveness for you."

Roberts-Joseph is well-known in the area for founding the Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African-American History back in 2001. She remained active at the museum throughout the years, also acting as its organizer.

She was not publicly identified until Saturday morning, as the entire region was bracing for Tropical Storm Barry. Despite the storm, detectives spent the weekend chasing possible leads and conducting interviews.

"Even as a kid my mom was fearless," Roberts said. "She would literally ride by drug dealers on the corner, scream and fuss at them about being off the street corner and doing something better with their lives."

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said a number of detectives have been assigned to work this case. Currently, they are holding daily briefings and evidence has been submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

"They're expediting this," Paul said. "This is a priority for the police department. It's a priority for state police. We have been working with them on this as well. I hope the public has confidence in us that we are exhausting every investigative lead that we receive."

Paul said the community has been very forthcoming with information, and they are following up on every lead that comes in.

Investigators have not identified any possible suspects or motives in the killing. Anyone with information is asked to contact BRPD.

A vigil to honor Roberts-Joseph will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African-American History.


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