Joseph Roberts has been arrested on suspicion of killing his fiancée, Rachel “Imani” Buckner, whose dismembered body was found on the Alameda Shoreline. Authorities had been surveilling Roberts for a week prior to his arrest, during which time he was observed engaging in various activities such as playing golf, socializing with friends, and dining out. DNA evidence led to Roberts’ arrest, and he is currently being held without bail.
On September 6, police and U.S. Marshals entered the Pleasanton apartment shared by Buckner and Roberts. They discovered potential crime scene indicators, including an open bottle of Drano near a bathtub and recently removed carpets. FBI cadaver dogs detected the scent of human decomposition in the bathroom, bedroom, and laundry area. During an interview, Roberts denied any involvement in Buckner’s death or any knowledge of it. However, subsequent investigations revealed several incriminating details.
A passerby alerted Alameda police on July 20 about the discovery of human remains concealed in black garbage bags and wrapped in duct tape. The body, initially unidentified, was missing its head, hands, and feet. Unique tattoos on the body provided the only clues to the victim’s identity. In late August, a laboratory technician confirmed that the DNA from the remains matched Buckner, who had been previously arrested in 2022.
Further investigations revealed that Buckner and Roberts had a history of legal issues, including arrests related to burglary, assault, and elder abuse. Roberts had paid the registration for Buckner’s car after her body was found. GPS records indicated that he had been using her phone and driving her car. Additionally, a voicemail from an unidentified woman addressed Roberts as “handsome” and mentioned plans for lunch together.
The final piece of evidence came when a technician confirmed that Roberts’ DNA was found on the duct tape and bags used to dispose of Buckner’s dismembered body. When confronted with this information, Roberts claimed ignorance of Buckner’s death and suggested that he believed she had died by suicide. However, he could not explain why his DNA was present on the materials used to wrap the body.
Roberts was subsequently booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he remains. He has not yet entered a plea in relation to the murder charge.