Additional human remains believed to be slain college student wash ashore on Lake Michigan

Apr 19, 2024, 10:38 AM

Maxwell Anderson, 33, has been charged with the killing and dismemberment of 19-year-old Sade Robin...

Maxwell Anderson, 33, has been charged with the killing and dismemberment of 19-year-old Sade Robinson. (Jovanny Hernandez/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA Today Network via CNN Newsource)

(Jovanny Hernandez/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA Today Network via CNN Newsource)

Additional human remains believed to be of Sade Robinson, the 19-year-old college student who went missing earlier this month following a first date, have washed ashore on a Lake Michigan beach in Wisconsin, according to a Thursday update from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

A torso and an arm were found by a citizen walking a remote tree-lined beach at 7:37 a.m. Thursday, the sheriff’s office said.

The gruesome discoveries come weeks after Robinson, a student at Milwaukee Area Technical College, went on a first date with 33-year-old Maxwell Anderson. She subsequently missed her shift at a Wisconsin pizza restaurant, spurring a search for her whereabouts.

Police have since found several body parts spread across the area that are believed to be of Robinson, and her vehicle sustained extreme fire damage, according to a criminal complaint.

Anderson was charged Friday in Robinson’s death with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and arson. He is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Monday at the Milwaukee County Courthouse Criminal Justice Facility, according to his attorneys.

Anthony Cotton, an attorney representing Anderson, told CNN his client “is presumed innocent and we will fight this matter vigorously in court.”

The sheriff’s office started investigating Robinson’s death after a severed human leg was discovered on the beach in Warnimont Park, in the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy, on April 2. Several additional remains believed to be Robinson were then discovered in Milwaukee.

Additional human remains believed to be Sade Robinson washed ashore in Lake Michigan. (From Erika Brown via CNN Newsource)

The sheriff’s office said they had already contracted and scheduled a sonar detection boat to further search Lake Michigan for Robinson’s remains and additional evidence.

“Our thoughts and prayers and the full support of this agency remain with Robinson’s family and loved ones, as they grieve and process her tragic loss,” the sheriff’s office said.

Also on Thursday, Steven Anderson, the suspect’s father, issued a statement through the law firm representing his son, saying, “On behalf of myself and my family, I would like to express our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Sade Robinson. We are shocked and devasted by her senseless death.”

“To Sade’s mother and father, words cannot express our sorrow for the incomprehensible pain and grief you are going through. We join the entire community in celebrating Sade’s life,” he added, requesting privacy for his own family to “process this terrible tragedy.”

Harrowing trail of evidence

According to a criminal complaint, Robinson had planned a first date with Anderson at a local seafood restaurant on April 1.

The young college student had been looking forward to the date, even telling a worker in her building how excited she was, the complaint said. She texted Anderson she was “feeling seafood” and headed out to meet him at a restaurant where he used to work, wearing ripped jeans and a white shirt, according to the complaint.

She did not show up to work the next day, which “wasn’t like her at all,” Justin Romano, a manager at Robinson’s workplace, told CNN affiliate WDJT. “We kind of knew something was up; we had been calling her all day.”

The morning after her date, Robinson’s vehicle was discovered on fire. The 2020 Civic had sustained “extreme fire damage completely damaging the interior,” according to the criminal complaint. Despite the fire damage, authorities were able to identify the outfit she had been wearing the night of the date as well as part of an iPhone consistent with her phone in the burned car.

Later the same day, police were called to the scene of a gruesome discovery: a human leg on the beach in Warnimont Park, in the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy, which appeared “sawn off” at the hip, according to the criminal complaint. An examination determined the leg belonged to a Black woman, approximately 5 feet tall. It was identified as Robinson’s using preliminary DNA evidence, the complaint states.

And on April 6, as police canvassed the area where Robinson’s car had been found, they identified more remains, including a human foot and “what appeared to be human flesh.” All appeared to come from the same person, the complaint said.

Phone records found by a friend of Robinson’s and her mother using a location-sharing app were detailed in the complaint. They show Robinson’s phone traveling the night of April 1 from the seafood restaurant to a nearby sports bar, then to Anderson’s home and then to the park where the remains were discovered.

The complaint details evidence police say ties Anderson to the crimes, including surveillance video, witness accounts and phone records. Authorities also found blood in Robinson’s house and “several gasoline containers,” it states.

“The facts mentioned in this complaint cause Complainant to conclude that the Defendant intentionally killed and then dismembered Robinson with the intent to conceal the homicide, and it occurred between the arrival at the Defendant’s residence and his departure from the Warnimont Park area,” it states.

A verified GoFundMe for Robinson’s memorial service described Robinson as “a loving daughter, a cherished sister, and a dear friend to many.”

Robinson, originally from Mississippi, was about to graduate from Milwaukee Area Technical College and pursue a career in criminal justice, according to the fundraiser.

“The pain of losing Sade has left a void in the hearts of her family, especially her grieving mother and little sister, along with other relatives, friends, and the entire community who loved and supported her,” reads the description. “As we come together to honor Sade’s memory, we aim to provide her with the dignified farewell she deserves.”

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Additional human remains believed to be slain college student wash ashore on Lake Michigan