Updated 7/16/19, 7:00 p.m. ET: Ronn Bell, a tenant of Sadie Roberts-Joseph, was arrested in connection to her death, NPR reports. Bell, a registered sex offender, was charged with first-degree murder. The 38-year-old plead guilty to sexual battery of an eight-year-old in 2007. He reportedly served seven years in prison for the crime.
Updated 7/16/19, 10:15 a.m. ET: Sadie Roberts-Joseph's death has been ruled a homicide by officials, CBS News reports. According to an autopsy conducted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office, Roberts-Joseph's preliminary cause of death was "traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation."
On Monday, the coroner's office issued a statement in response to the news: "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."
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The founder of the Baton Rouge African American Museum was discovered dead in the trunk of a car on Friday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.
75-year-old Sadie Roberts-Joseph opened her museum in 2001 and was beloved throughout the city. Baton Rouge police said they are working to find who killed her.
"Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace,” the Baton Rouge Police Department wrote on Facebook. “ 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...Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice.”
Roberts-Joseph's sister said that Sadie began making cornbread at her house left while it was cooking.
"The bread is still there," Beatrice Johnson told The Advocate. "She never came back to get it."
Together Baton Rouge, a group that brings together churches and community organizations to push for the betterment of the city, said that Roberts-Joseph's death was a huge loss for the city.
"She was what was right about Baton Rouge and the magnitude of her loss to our whole community is a testament to that," they said in a statement. "While her death is a tragedy, it would be an even greater injustice to let her death overshadow her tremendous life that left behind a legacy of activism and black pride that endeared her to the Baton Rouge community."