Sadie Roberts-Joseph Cause of Death: Activist’s Death Ruled Homicide


Sadie Roberts-Joseph, a 75-year-old Baton Rouge activist and founder of the local African American history museum, died in a homicide caused by suffocation, according to The Washington Post.

East Baton Rouge Coroner Beau Clark released preliminary autopsy results which indicate she was suffocated before she was placed in the trunk of a car, the newspaper reported. She was found in the car about 3 1/2 miles from her Scotlandville home near Choctaw in the 2300 block of North 20th Street, off Interstate 110, according to WAFB 9.

Baton Rouge Police Department is calling on the public to give officers information. Roberts-Joseph teamed up with police on community efforts to stop local violence. She founded the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum in 1991 and advocated for peace and unity.

Police called her a “tireless advocate of peace in the community.”

Deputy Chief Robert McGarner said on 94.1 FM Monday morning the community should step up and give police information.

“They need to come forward and give that information because the police department – we can’t do it by ourselves. Law enforcement can’t do it by ourselves. It has to be a team,” he said.

She left a legacy in the Baton Rouge community with the revival of Juneteenth celebrations in 1991. June 19 commemorates the day Union soldiers told slaves in the south they were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Sadie Roberts-Joseph also co-founded Community Against Drugs and Violence (CADAV), a non-profit organization aimed at creating peace in Baton Rouge.

Local community leaders and officials posted memorials in tribute to Sadie Roberts-Joseph. Friends questioned who would hurt the gentle advocate for peace and unity.

Anyone with information is asked to call Baton Rouge detectives at 225-389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-STOP (7867).

Here’s what you need to know:

Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s Death Ruled Homicide

The death of Sadie Roberts-Joseph was ruled a homicide caused by asphyxiation, according to preliminary autopsy results collected by The Advocate. Autopsy results indicated she died from “traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation,” meaning someone physically blocked her airway, the newspaper said.

Her body was found in the trunk of a her own car about 3 1/2 miles from her home.

“Who would want to hurt Sadie?” Patricia Haynes Smith wrote on the CADAV Facebook page. “She had given her life to proving children and adults alike the opportunity to know and live Black History. I’m completely baffled that someone would take her life. I pray for her family and that whoever did her harm will be found and punished”

“May God take care of you my friend.”

Police Calling On Public To Give Information To Solve The Case

Baton Rouge Police Department Deputy Chief Robert McGarner called on the public to come forward and share information on the case, speaking to 94.1 FM Monday morning. He said police are following “a lot of leads.”

“I’m trying to be good on this mic but, you know, it pains me when you have individuals running around talking about no snitching, snitches get stitches,” he said. No, It ain’t called snitching. It’s called telling the da*n truth, period, and the problem is that we have to stop sitting back and letting this stuff happen in our community and we don’t do anything about it.”

He said he was just with Sadie Roberts-Joseph on Juneteenth and saw her everywhere. He said she was “a sweet, beautiful lady” who was “loved by everyone in the community.”

“This was an angel. She set out to educate our kids on where they come from, because if you don’t know where you come from you don’t know where you’re going.”


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