Roxanna Brown, director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum in Thailand, and a person who, along with two or three others, is supposed to have ‘created the field of Southeast Asian Ceramics,’ has died in strange circumstances in the custody of Federal US agents.
She had been indicted on one count of wire fraud, in which she was alleged to have allowed others to use her electronic signature on faked appraisal forms, which inflated the values of pieces that were being sent to US museums from Ban Chiang, one of the most important archaeological sites in mainland Southeast Asia.
Her family immediately and aggressively began to turn the tables on the officials: they pointed out that Brown had been so ill, with something resembling the flu, that her initial court appearance had been postponed.
An autopsy was performed by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday. Results were not immediately available but her brother, Fred Brown, of Chicago, told The Associated Press she appeared to have had a heart attack.
Mr Brown said his sister maintained she was innocent, and he blamed the stress of her arrest for her death.
“She wasn’t in good health to begin with, but they definitely brought on the heart attack,” he said. [link]
There’s a lot more that’s been being written on the academic lists for regional studies, and undoubtedly much much more in the coming days.
My deep condolences to Ms. Brown’s family, friends, colleagues and admirers.
Democracy Now! has a brief headline mention of Ms. Brown’s passing as well.