The fragmented body that washed up on the California coastline earlier this summer has been identified as a young law student from the Bay Area; investigators believe her fiancé, who is accused of killing her, cruelly slaughtered her.
The body of Rachel Elizabeth Imani Bucker, 27, was discovered on July 20 along the shoreline close to the Bay Farm Island Bridge, dismembered, and wrapped in plastic and duct tape, according to Alameda police.
According to KTVU, her head, feet, and hands had all been removed and had not yet been found.
A hiker discovered the 27-year-old’s body between a walking route and the lake, according to KRON. His identification was confirmed by a DNA test on August 30.
The woman’s fiance, Joseph C. Roberts, 42, was accused of the woman’s murder by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
Charges against Roberts state that he resided in Pleasanton with Buckner and referred to her as his fiancée.
In a letter to KTVU, Bruckner’s family characterized her as “beautiful, brilliant, [and] kind,” with “an incredibly bright future.”
Bruckner, a Howard University alumnus, excelled in both academics and basketball. According to her relatives, she was scheduled to receive her law degree this year from Golden Gate University.
“Her death has left a void that is indescribable in her community and village,” her family said.
A search warrant for Roberts’ phone records revealed he last communicated with Buckner on July 13, a week before her body was discovered.
Since his last known communication with the victim, he had been in contact with at least three other women, investigators said.
He also still had the victim’s phone and car, which he would still use, long after her death, Detective Robert Hansen said.
“Joseph [Roberts] never reported the victim missing at any point during this investigation. 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,” wrote Hansen.
Roberts was apprehended at the apartment he shared with Bruckner on Wednesday.
Bruckner was slain inside the flat, according to additional forensic evidence found in their house.
Roberts was arrested and taken to Santa Rita Jail on charges of first-degree murder.