Blog Briefing Room

Death of African American history advocate ruled a homicide: report

Officials have ruled the death of activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph, the founder of a Louisiana African American history museum, was a homicide after Roberts-Joseph was found dead in her trunk last week, according to CBS News.

"It is with great sadness and respect we investigate any unexpected or traumatic death," the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's office said in a statement Monday. "

"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," the coroner's office added.

The autopsy officially ruled Roberts-Joseph's cause of death was "traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation."

Roberts-Joseph founded the Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African-American History, now known as the Baton Rouge African-American Museum, in 2001. She was also the founder of the non-profit organization Community Against Drugs and Violence and organized an annual Juneteenth celebration commemorating the emancipation of slaves.

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome (D) said the city is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for any information leading to an arrest or indictment in connection with the killing, according to CBS.

Roberts-Joseph's brother, Joseph Armstrong, told the network her family is continuing to wait for answers from investigators. "We've never seen anything like this in our immediate family. It is really really hard," he told "CBS Evening News."

"They popped the trunk and she was in the trunk of the car," he added. "How did it happen... or why? Was it a robbery or what?"