Body parts found in Milwaukee County; Maxwell Anderson accused

A Milwaukee man was formally charged on Friday, April 12 in connection to the death of 19-year-old Sade Robinson. 

Prosecutors accuse 33-year-old Maxwell Anderson of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and arson of property other than a building. According to investigators, a preliminary DNA analysis found Robinson's severed leg was found at Warnimont Park in Cudahy the day after she'd been last seen.

A criminal complaint alleges Anderson "intentionally killed and then dismembered Robinson with the intent to conceal the homicide." Not all of Robinson's remains have been found, authorities said.

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"The defendant did tremendous amount of work to try to cover up the crime, including lighting Ms. Robinson’s vehicle on fire," said Assistant District Attorney Ian Vance-Curzan. "The allegations in the complaint are abhorrent. It is the highest level of violence imaginable."

Anderson’s attorney tried to get the first-degree intentional homicide charge dismissed, arguing there was not enough evidence – a request that was denied. Court records show his cash bond was set at $5 million on Friday, and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office confirmed he remains jailed.

Severed leg found

According to a criminal complaint, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and Cudahy Police Department were called to Warnimont Park on Tuesday night, April 2 after a human leg was found near the beach. The person who called authorities said the leg was just north of the Warnimont Pump House – roughly two-thirds of the way down a bluff, towards the water's edge.

Investigators got video from Cudahy High School which showed the parkways nearest the pump house. That video showed just before 3 a.m., a vehicle drove the video frame and headed east on the parkway toward the road to the pump house. The complaint states the vehicle "did not make a southbound or northbound turn once reaching the intersection nearest to the service road" before disappearing from the footage, "consistent with the vehicle driving down the road that leads to the pump house."


Damage to gate at Warnimont Park (April 2)

Employees of the Cudahy Water Department reported damage to the service gate after the evening of April 1 and before the morning of April 2. The complaint states the damage was consistent with a vehicle ramming the gate to get through.

The complaint said video footage from the pump house showed, at 3:02 a.m. on April 2, a "human figure" was seen going down the bluff to beach level. The figure appeared to make "multiple attempts" to walk between the beach and the pump house's service drive. Around 4:30 a.m., the vehicle that entered the closed gate left the park and headed westbound.

Sade Robinson missing

Robinson was reported missing at Milwaukee Police District 5 around 9 p.m. on April 2. Officers went to Robinson's home for a welfare check, according to the complaint, but didn't find her. Officers then reached out to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office to make sure they were aware of the missing persons report.

Also on April 2, the Milwaukee Fire Department was called to the area of 29th and Lisbon for a car fire around 7:30 a.m. Authorities used the car's license to find out it belonged to Robinson, per the complaint.

A detective spoke with a friend of Robinson who remembered Robinson had a Life360 app – which provides location-based services and allows users to share their locations with others, per the complaint. When checking the Life360 app, the friend saw Robinson's phone "appeared to be in Warnimont Park" around 4:30 a.m. on April 2.  

Maxwell Anderson identified

Investigators checked Robinson's phone records. The complaint states records showed "an association between (one of the numbers being texted) and Maxwell S. Anderson." Anderson also provided that number during a booking process, which led to authorities identifying Anderson's residence.

The complaint states Robinson and Anderson met at Twisted Fisherman, a restaurant on Canal Street, for a "first date" the night of April 1. The owner of the restaurant told investigators Anderson was a former employee there. A bartender at the restaurant said Robinson and Anderson were served and "appeared to have casual conversation, before leaving together."

Car fire, body parts found

After authorities identified Robinson's car as the one set on fire in Milwaukee, investigators canvassed the area. The complaint states, near 31st and Galena, a detective found a "human foot" in a wooded area near the train tracks that border a nearby playground. The foot and the leg found at Warnimont Park "appeared to be from the same individual." Other human flesh was also identified in the area. 

Investigators later searched Robinson's burned car. According to the complaint, a remnant of an iPhone "consistent with the type of iPhone Robinson was known to have" was among the items recovered.


Medical examiner at scene near 31st and Galena (April 6)

Investigators obtained video from a Milwaukee County Transit System bus that showed someone walking away from a fire that was "beginning to burn in the parking slab behind the building at the corner of 30th and Lisbon," the complaint states. As the bus passed the person who was walking away from the fire at around 7:30 a.m. on April 2. The person appeared to be a white male wearing dark pants and a dark gray hooded top, carrying a tan-colored backpack with tan straps that appeared to be full. As the bus continued to drive westbound on Lisbon Avenue, the burning of Robinson's car was "clearly visible."

The complaint said a person who appeared to have witnessed the car being set on fire can be heard on surveillance video from a nearby food mart yelling "he did that" while pointing across the street to the person with the tan backpack. That person also began yelling for someone to call the fire department.


Maxwell Anderson

Detectives then saturated the area looking for surveillance footage that would capture the person with the tan backpack. Detectives learned the person eventually got on an MCTS bus around 8:12 a.m. on April 2. The bus was headed south on 35th Street – which is toward Anderson's home, according to the complaint.

When Anderson arrived in his neighborhood, surveillance video from a nearby home showed him going through his back gate from the alley, the complaint states. His dark, hooded top and tan backpack appeared full and were visible in the video.

Sheriff's office detectives stopped Anderson's SUV around 1:15 a.m. on April 4. He was arrested near 38th and Lakefield, a few blocks from his home, at that time.

Loved ones react

It was an emotional day in court for Robinson's family, who sat and listened to the gruesome details surrounding the 19-year-old woman’s death.

"This sick, son of a (expletive) is going to pay," said Sheena Scarbrough, Robinson’s mother.

Now that Anderson is charged, the family wants a conviction. Barely speaking above a whisper and fighting back tears, Scarbrough is pushing forward for her daughter. 

"This is justice for Sade," she said. "Who the (expletive) would do something like this to my beautiful baby?"

"Sade was more than a person, she was an angel. Not having her right now is very painful," said David Scarbrough, Robinson’s uncle. "Imagine trying to bury your niece with no body for the service. I need justice for Sade."

"She’s sweet, loving – she didn’t deserve this," said Keyiana, Robinson’s cousin.

Meanwhile, community members are searching for the rest of Robinson’s remains – hoping to bring her family a bit of peace. A GoFundMe online fundraiser hopes to raise money for a memorial and other expenses for Robinson's family.

"I wouldn’t even be able to sleep knowing my baby is a little bit of everywhere in this city right now," said Latoya Crawford, who joined a search party.

‘A little erratic’

One of Anderson’s former coworkers told FOX6 News, when she first saw he was a person of interest, she was shocked. Now, she is questioning every interaction she had with him.

"He would get very drunk at work, and his behavior a little erratic, but nothing – truly nothing – that really sparked a red flag," said Samantha Brenner.

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Brenner said she bartended with Anderson at Victor’s, on Van Buren near Juneau, this past summer.

"There’s a guilt aspect," Brenner said. "I wish I could’ve picked up on it, or something, and I just couldn’t – like nothing went off in my head."