peo_Roberts_TS_113.jpg

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING. Sadie Roberts-Joseph, founder of the Odell S. Williams Now and Then Museum of African-American History, now known as the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum, photographed Feb. 17, 2010 for a profile story, wearing an Egyptian headdress. East Baton Rouge Coroner Beau Clark released preliminary autopsy results Monday, July 15, 2019 that show Roberts-Joseph, 75, was suffocated to death before her body was found in the trunk of a car, over the weekend. ORG XMIT: LABAT

A celebration of life for slain Baton Rouge icon Sadie Roberts-Joseph will be held Monday. 

Roberts-Joseph's sister Beatrice Johnson said the celebration will be 10 a.m. Monday at the Living Faith Christian Center at 6375 Winbourne Ave. Those in attendance are asked to wear black-colored clothing or African print. 

Roberts-Joseph, a civil rights activist, was found suffocated in the trunk of her car behind an abandoned house last Friday. 

She was 75.

Roberts-Joseph founded the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum in 2001. She became known as a tireless advocate for the city's black community and an unwavering voice of peace, acceptance and healing. Local and state leaders have mourned her loss and praised her accomplishments as news of her death spread nationwide. 

Top stories in Baton Rouge in your inbox

Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. Sign up today.

On Tuesday, Baton Rouge Police announced that Ronn Jermaine Bell had been arrested in her murder.

Bell, 38, is a registered sex offender and was a tenant of Roberts-Joseph. Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul mentioned that Bell owed about $1,200 in unpaid rent, but said an official motive hasn't been determined in the ongoing investigation. 

Bell's DNA was found on Roberts-Joseph's body, according the arrest document. Video evidence shows him near where her car was found — about 3 miles from her Scotlandville home, which is down the street from the house Bell was renting from her.

A vigil was held Tuesday night for Roberts-Joseph and there was a memorial Wednesday morning.

This story has been changed to correct the address for the Living Faith Christian Center.