African American museum founded by slain activist is vandalized

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BATON ROUGE, La. — Police in Louisiana say Baton Rouge’s African American history museum was reported to have been vandalized exactly a month after its founder was found dead.

WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge reports police are investigating the damage to the Odell S. Williams African-American Museum founded by Sadie Roberts-Joseph.

Photos posted online Monday show flipped benches, windows on the ground and other damage including torn and ruined landscaping. It’s unclear if the inside of the museum suffered any damage. It’s been closed since Roberts-Joseph’s death.

Kevin Hayes said he was visiting the museum to pay respects to Roberts-Joseph when he found fountains with crystals torn apart and a flipped television.

“It’s a historic black museum, and a lot of kids find time to not do harmful things by coming to this place,” Hayes told WBRZ. “Seeing it vandalized is heartbreaking.”

“It’s disrespectful and extremely disappointing,” Jason Roberts said. “The museum has been there for the community since its inception.”

The 75-year-old Roberts-Joseph was found dead last month in the trunk of a car. Preliminary autopsy results showed she was strangled before being shoved into the trunk. Police later arrested 38-year-old Ronn Bell on a charge of first-degree murder. He had been renting from Roberts-Joseph and was about $1,200 behind in rent.

RELATED: Memorial for slain civil rights activist draws many; murder suspect in jail

RELATED: Man arrested for murder of Sadie Roberts-Joseph was renting apartment from her

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