Crowd attends hilltop vigil at Milwaukee’s Kilbourn Reservoir Park in remembrance of Sade Robinson. Photos: Lisa R. Muhammad

MILWAUKEE—Family, friends, and others wishing to show their respects to the memory of slain 19-year-old college student, Sade Robinson, gathered for a vigil and balloon release at Kilbourn Reservoir Park that overlooks the city, on April 19, to celebrate her life and to demand justice for what many are calling one of the area’s most heinous crimes since the arrest of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in 1991.

With many describing her as a hardworking young, Black woman determined to pursue a path in law enforcement, Sade Robinson, a criminal justice major at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Was set to graduate just a few weeks after her April 1 disappearance after reportedly meeting the alleged killer at a local restaurant.

By April 2, with the discovery of her severed leg on a Lake Michigan beach just South of the city, it was soon revealed that Ms. Robinson was the victim of foul play.

The alleged killer, Maxwell Anderson, who is White, is the son of a wealthy family from the Milwaukee area and reportedly met Ms. Robinson for the first time April 1.

Sade Robinson

“I’m still grieving tremendously,” said Sheena Scarbrough, the mother of Sade Robinson, during the hilltop vigil that brought together a large cross-section of family, friends, and supporters offering their prayers, well-wishes, and demands for justice. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire life,” she said.

In a tearful description of her older sister as a person who always overcame adversity to achieve her goals, Adrianna Reams told the crowd that her sister was an example for her, a fighter, and would never let anything break her spirit. “Anybody that knew Sade knew that she was different from everybody else. She went through a lot, even before she died, she never let it break her and she was one of the strongest people I know.”

According to a FOX6 News Milwaukee April 28 broadcast: “Authorities said the 19 year old was killed and mutilated after going on a date with 33-year-old Maxwell Anderson. Her father, Carlos Robinson, lives in Florida, but his heart is in Milwaukee with his daughter, as the search continues for her remains,” the news report said.

Mother of Sade Robinson

“For a parent to have to deal with this type of trauma is inconceivable,” Mr. Robinson said. “It’s almost like I wake up in a nightmare every day,” he said of the haunting images of his daughter’s death. “(The alleged killer) is definitely not my daughter’s type. I don’t know. I got so many questions I can’t answer,” he said during the televised interview. 

The news story further reported that Mr. Robinson was in disbelief when Sade’s mother called him to share that his daughter’s car was found abandoned and burnt and that additional body parts were later found scattered throughout various other locations across Milwaukee County.

“I want to know everything, but I don’t know if I can handle it,” Mr.  Robinson said. “It’s devastating,” he said during the FOX6 News interview.

Authorities are searching coastal Lake Michigan as well, leading to even more questions and speculation in the community.

A news release posted to Facebook by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), April 18, stated they were “investigating the discovery of human remains … along a remote stretch of tree-lined beach on Lake Michigan, nearly a quarter mile from an apartment complex, where they are believed to have washed ashore,” it read.

April Bentley of R.U.B.I.E.S. delivers a message of love, encouragement, and support for the family.

“The torso and arm, found at 7:37 a.m. by a citizen walking the beach, are believed to be that of Sade Robinson, 19, whom MCSO investigators believe was murdered by Maxwell Anderson, 33 … in Milwaukee, on or about April 2,” the news release said.

More questions than answers

As the search continues for Ms. Robinson’s remaining body parts, Maxwell Anderson has been charged with three felonies: First-degree intentional homicide; mutilating a corpse; and arson of property other than building—all under Wisconsin statutes.

He is being held by MCSO on a $5 million bond as of Final Call press time. However, questions and anxiety over the plight of other missing women and girls in and around the Milwaukee area are now raising concerns as to whether investigators stumbled onto a serial killer who had been hiding in plain sight.

According to Milwaukee’s ABC affiliate, WISN 12 News, Mr. Anderson was a local bartender who was well known in the local bar and club scene, had past run-ins with the law related to disorderly conduct and domestic violence, and maintained what law enforcement officers described as a “sex dungeon” after searching the basement of his South Side residence. But media reports said blood stains collected by investigators from his stairwell and basement did not match Sade Robinson’s.

Sister of Sade Robinson

Local news broadcasts also recounted that court documents said Anderson and Robinson met at The Twisted Fisherman bar and restaurant in Menomonee Valley before visiting a second establishment in downtown Milwaukee and that Ms. Robinson’s “phone was then traced to Anderson’s home … and we know Robinson was never seen again,” the newscast said.

April Bentley, founder, and executive director of R.U.B.I.E.S. (Rare-Unique-Beautiful-Intelligent-Excelling-Sisters), a not-for-profit 501c3 intervention program dedicated to the upliftment and edification of young women in Milwaukee, told The Final Call that she brought several women and girls from her program to participate in the vigil to share love with Sade’s family and to help R.U.B.I.E.S.

participants to understand the dangerous realities associated with internet dating. Regardless of income bracket, education level, or social station, Ms. Bentley described how a fatal tragedy is only one decision away from a life-or-death scenario.

Crowd attends hilltop vigil at Milwaukee’s Kilbourn Reservoir Park in remembrance of Sade Robinson. Photos: Lisa R. Muhammad

She also said many of the young women and girls she serves are heavily influenced by a symbol over substance lifestyle, the need for material goods to feel validated, and by making crucial life-altering decisions often driven by social media, entertainment industry imagery, and the idea of fast money without consequences.

She cautioned and warned young women about the dangers of meeting people via social media and then in person and going off alone with them to unknown locations.

“People can be whoever they want to be on social media. You can make up a character, you don’t know these people,” she said of the vulnerabilities facing too many women when they are isolated or alone.

Regarding the narratives and counter-narratives swirling around what can only be described as a vicious and despicable crime, Milwaukee’s Morning Drive talk show host Michelle Bryant of WNOV 860AM told The Final Call that when the severed leg was confirmed to belong to the young college student April 2, she noted a rise in the usual tropes and stereotypes often cast against Black women that they are the one’s responsible for the depraved acts of others who commit acts of violence against them.

Maxwell Anderson, the alleged killer of Sade Robinson, has been charged with three felonies in connection with her death in Milwaukee.

“There were conversations about whether or not we potentially had a serial killer when it became clear that the missing body parts were connected to one individual (and) it did kind of calm the community down for a little while, but … the perceived degree of (the alleged killer’s)

comfortableness of dismembering a body and being willing to transport those body parts to various parts of the city and dumping her car, people in the community (were) like: ‘This doesn’t sound like the first time you’ve done this!’” she said.

“On April 2, the first leg was found, April 5 and 6, they find a foot and some other remains that they didn’t tell the public what they were, then on April 18, they find her torso and arm,” Michelle Bryant said. The rest of her body, including Sade’s head, has yet to be found as of Final Call press time.

Who will champion the Black woman?

State Representative, Shelia Stubbs (D- Madison), Assembly District 77, told The Final Call in a telephone interview that Wisconsin holds the unfortunate title of being the most dangerous state for Black women and girls in the country.

She also said the first effort to address this issue was from data collected by her office and this was the motivating factor for her to initiate what began as a bill to create “a task force on missing and murdered African American women and girls.” Assembly Bill 886 was first introduced to the State Assembly on January 22, 2022.

“The bill only had Democrats on it, Democrat senators and Democrat state representatives. I never got a hearing and that was the end of the bill,” Rep. Stubbs said. “I went back, did some more work on the bill, and reintroduced this bill again on October 31, 2023.” 

According to, AB 615 passed the Assembly on February 22, 2024, but failed in the Republican-controlled Senate Committee on Government Operations under 2023 Senate Bill 568.

According to “A study published Feb. 8, 2024, in the Lancet Peer-Reviewed Medical Journal, found that Black women ages 25 to 44 in the U.S. are disproportionately murdered compared with White women. The inequity was highest in Wisconsin,” their report stated.

A balloon release in memory of Sade held in Milwaukee.

The 2020 national homicide rate among Black women was 11.6 per 100,000, compared with three per 100,000 among White women, an inequity that has “persisted over time and is virtually unchanged since 1999.” The gap was greatest in Wisconsin. In 2019-20, Black women were 20 times more likely than White women to die by homicide, the study said.

The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, wrote in his landmark book, “Message to The Black Man in America,” published in 1965, that it is the Black man’s duty and responsibility to value the womb that bore him and as such, to elevate, respect, and protect the Black woman who is his first nurse and teacher.

On page 58, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad explained that until Black men learn to love and protect Black women, we will never be a fit and recognized people on earth.

“The White man will never recognize you until you protect your woman. You and I may go to Harvard, we may go to York of England, or go to Al Ahzar in Cairo and get degrees from all of these great seats of learning. But we will never be recognized until we recognize our women,” he continued.

Student Minister William Muhammad of Milwaukee’s Muhammad Mosque No. 3, under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, said that as the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.) and Believers in Islam, it is important to push awareness of the value of women and children as a major message in both words and deeds consistently.

“The environment that the enemy is managing for our people, the social engineering, is making us more and more imbalanced, more and more mentally and spiritually depraved and our women and girls are being victimized worse than ever before as a result of it,” states Student Minister Muhammad.

He also agreed that young women have likewise been engineered into devaluing themselves from who and what they are as serious creations of Allah (God).

“In terms of good treatment, in terms of respect, in terms of being valued by their potential partners, we have a job to do to continue to warn, to continue to teach, (and) to continue to create spaces in the community where we talk about these things,” Student Minister Muhammad said.

“But we are reaping the consequences of our failure to heed the call of God because we refuse to pool our resources, to do for self, to create an environment that’s safe and decent and independent of our enemy.”