An internationally known expert on Asian art who was implicated in a scheme to smuggle looted antiquities from Thailand to Los Angeles-area museums died Wednesday at a federal detention center in Seattle four days after being arrested there on a visit from Bangkok.
Roxanna Brown, 62, director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum at Bangkok University, had traveled to Seattle for a speaking engagement at the University of Washington, authorities said.
She was a focal point of a widening federal probe that was launched with highly publicized raids on four Southern California museums in January. Hours before her arrest at a Seattle hotel, she had been indicted Friday on a federal wire fraud charge that accused her of inflating the value of the plundered antiquities.
The American-born Brown, who was trained in art history at UCLA, apparently died of a heart attack around 2:30 a.m. at the detention center, between Seattle and Tacoma. Extradition to Los Angeles on the charge was pending, authorities said.