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Boyfriend Arrested In Dismemberment Murder Of California Law Student

The dismembered body found in a bag that washed up on the California shoreline in July 2023 has been identified and has led to the arrest of the slain woman’s boyfriend.

DNA testing identified the body as Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner, 27, who was in law school at Golden Gate University. Authorities say she was murdered by her fiancé, dismembered, and her body dumped along the shore in Alameda, according to KRON4.

Her hands, feet, and head were detached from her body.

Buckner, who had a young daughter, was an “infectious spirit” who shed a “radiant light” to all who knew her, her mother wrote on the GoFundMe page created to cover the cost of funeral arrangements.

Forty-two-year-old Joseph Roberts is accused of killing the Howard University graduate and is currently detained at Santa Rita Jail. The Alameda Sun reports that Roberts was charged with first-degree murder, which is punishable by 25 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

During his arrest, he claimed that he was Buckner’s fiancé.

The couple lived in Pleasanton, California, but parts of Buckner’s body were seen on the shore by a person walking along the coast of Bay Farm Island on July 20. According to the Alameda Sun, it was not know how long the remains had been in the water.

Roberts’ arrest provided a “brutal” conclusion to the two-month long, said Alameda Police Sergeant Spencer Mountain.

Police were able to link Roberts to Buckner’s demise through DNA evidence. However, authorities have yet to uncover Roberts’ motive.

The GoFundMe account for Buckner continues to raise funds, some of which will be used for her daughter’s wellbeing and support. With a $100,000 goal before her funeral services on November 4, the family is more than halfway to its goal.

Anyone with additional information on this investigation is asked to contact the Alameda Police Department at 510-337-8402.

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