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Yesterday (July 16), police arrested a suspect in connection to the death of Sadie Roberts-Joseph.
According to NPR, police have arrested Ronn Jermaine Bell. Authorities believe that Bell was a tenant in the building that Roberts-Joseph lived. Police stated that the man owed her $1,200 in rent and that the exact motive is still under investigation. Bell has been charged with first-degree murder.
"There's no information to lead us to believe this is a hate crime," Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said. "There's no information that leads us to believe that this incident was motivated by Ms. Sadie's activism or community efforts."
Officials also reported that Roberts-Joseph, 75, died of traumatic asphyxia. The East Baton Rouge Parish coroner ruled Roberts-Joseph's death a homicide.
Bell is a registered sex offender who previously served seven years in prison for abusing a minor, back in 2007. Prior to being identified as a suspect, Bell had been arrested on a warrant for not making a court fee payment.
On Monday (July 15), we reported that Roberts-Joseph was found dead in the drunk of a car, which was found three miles away from her home. Following the news of her death, many have expressed their sympathy and shared heartfelt messages.
"She was one of the standout matriarchs of Baton Rouge," Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said at a news conference. "She was a part of the fabric of Baton Rouge. And that is why you see so many people concerned about her death. We will make her legacy a priority because of what she gave to so many here."
"This morning I woke up to the horrible news that my mentor Sadie Roberts-Joseph was murdered and was found in the trunk of a vehicle on Friday evening," Blair Imani wrote. "My heart is broken. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajun - We belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return. Ameen."