Fiancé charged with murder of woman found dismembered and wrapped in plastic

A 27-year-old woman from California, Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner, was found brutally murdered and dismembered along a shoreline this past summer. The prime suspect in the case is her fiancé, Joseph C. Roberts, 42, who was arrested and charged with her murder this week, according to the Alameda Police Department.

Buckner’s remains were discovered on July 20, concealed in plastic and secured with duct tape. Disturbingly, her head, hands, and feet had been severed from her body and are yet to be found. The autopsy report confirmed that Buckner’s death was a homicide.

The victim was identified in late August after DNA evidence was processed. Examination of Roberts’ phone records revealed that the last communication between him and Buckner’s phone was on July 13. Interestingly, he had been in contact with at least three other women since then, according to authorities.

Further investigation revealed that Roberts had been using Buckner’s phone and car in the weeks following her death, as stated by Alameda Police Detective Robert Hansen. Buckner and Roberts had been in a relationship for several years and shared a residence in the suburb of Pleasanton. Both were previously arrested in 2022 for allegedly breaking into Buckner’s mother’s home and assaulting her family members.

Roberts never reported Buckner missing at any point during the investigation. His DNA was found on the tape used to wrap her body, indicating his awareness of her death and dismemberment and his active role in concealing her body in plastic garbage bags, according to Hansen’s report. Roberts is currently facing charges of murder, circumstance in aggravation, and special allegation of great bodily injury, as per jail records.