Authorities have identified the dismembered remains of a woman found along a shoreline in the San Francisco Bay Area in July. The victim’s boyfriend has been charged with her murder, following the discovery of his DNA on duct tape used to wrap the remains. The accused, Joseph C. Roberts, 42, is currently detained at the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda, California, for the murder of Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner, 27.
Buckner’s remains were found in a plastic bag near the Bay Farm Island Bridge, according to Alameda police. A passerby made the gruesome discovery while walking on a trail. Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi confirmed the details to a local NBC affiliate. The victim’s head, hands, and feet were severed from her body and are still missing, as per the probable cause affidavit.
Initially, the police were unable to identify the woman. However, they confirmed her identity on August 30 through DNA testing. Roberts’ DNA was found on the duct tape used to wrap some of Buckner’s body parts. According to the police affidavit, this evidence suggests that Roberts was aware of Buckner’s death and dismemberment and played an active role in concealing her body.
Roberts and Buckner had been in a relationship for several years and shared an apartment in Pleasanton, about 40 miles southeast of Alameda. Roberts never reported Buckner missing. A search warrant for Roberts’ phone records revealed that his phone connected with Buckner’s phone about a week before her body was discovered. Roberts was in possession of Buckner’s phone and car after her death and had been in contact with at least three other women.
Roberts was arrested at the apartment he shared with Buckner. Police believe the murder took place there. The couple had a history of legal issues, having been arrested the previous year for allegedly breaking into Buckner’s mother’s home and assaulting her family. At the time, Roberts referred to Buckner as his fiancée.
Buckner’s family was devastated by the news of her murder. They had not been in regular contact with her since the previous arrests. The Alameda Police Department has asked the community to respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.
The investigation is ongoing. Detectives have yet to establish a motive or determine when Roberts allegedly killed Buckner. The Alameda Police Department is appealing to anyone with information to come forward.