Alameda County authorities have arrested and charged a Pleasanton man in connection with the death of a woman he called his fiancee, after her body was identified last month.
We first learned in early August of a woman's remains that were found on the Alameda shoreline near Bay Farm Island Bridge, and at the time she had not yet been identified and it was being investigated as a murder. The woman has since been identified as 27-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner of Pleasanton, and as KRON4 reported earlier this week, Buckner had never been reported as missing.
On Thursday, U.S. Marshals assisted local authorities in arresting 42-year-old Joseph C. Roberts at his apartment in Pleasanton, and charging him with Buckner's murder.
KTVU reports that Buckner had apparently become estranged from family members following an incident last year. Both Roberts and Buckner were arrested after they allegedly broke into Buckner's mother's home and assaulting multiple family members.
Roberts and Buckner lived together in Pleasanton, according to authorities. And after Buckner was identified through DNA, Roberts's DNA was subsequently found on duct tape that was used to wrap her body. The body was found near a footpath next to Bay Farm Island Bridge with its head, hands, and feet missing, and those still have not been found.
"This one is pretty brutal. I have never had a dismemberment case," said Alameda Police Sgt. Spencer Mountain, speaking to KRON4.
Alameda police informed Buckner's family in person of her death, after her body was identified.
"I was with my investigators when we made notification to the family. As you can imagine they were devastated," said Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi, speaking to KRON4.
Investigators said they obtained a search warrant for Roberts's phone records, and found that he had last communicated with the victim on July 13. This was about one week before Buckner's decomposing body was discovered.
Following Roberts's arrest, detectives say they found additional forensic evidence in the apartment suggesting that Buckner was killed there.
Investigators further add that Roberts's appeared to be in contact with three other women at the time of his last contact with Buckner. And after Buckner's death, he continued to use her cellphone and her car.
"Joseph [Roberts] never reported the victim missing at any point during this investigation," said Alameda PD Det. Robert Hansen in a memo, per KTVU. "Joseph's DNA was on the tape that wrapped her body, which meant he was aware she was dead, he was aware she was dismembered, and he took an active role in wrapping her body, concealing it in plastic garbage bags."
The Alameda County DA's office has charged Roberts with murder, and he was on a no-bail hold on Friday, per Bay Area News Group. He was scheduled to be arraigned today.
Top image: The area near Bay Farm Island Bridge where the body was found in July, via Google Street View.