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Man arrested in death of Rancho Cordova's Emma Roark

The body of Emma Roark, 20, was discovered in a secluded area less than a mile from her home. Search crews said she was the victim of homicide.

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. — The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office announced an arrest has been made in the Emma Roark case.

According to a press release from the Rancho Cordova Police Department, detectives with SCSO arrested Mikilo Morgan Rawls, 37, in connection with the "brutal sexual assault and homicide" of Roark who was from Rancho Cordova.

“This type of violent crime tears at the fabric of community safety,” said Chief Deputy Jim Barnes.  “I am proud of the Sheriff’s Office personnel, which includes the Rancho Cordova Police Department, who stood tall to protect our community and brought resolution to this brutal crime. I also want to thank the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Crime Lab for their collaboration on this investigation.” 

According to the Associated Press, authorities say DNA evidence led to Rawls, described as a homeless man with a long criminal record. 

“The Sheriff’s Office is sympathetic to the transient population, we understand people are experiencing hard times," Barnes said. "But there is evil amongst them, and that’s what Mr. Rawls was.”

Credit: Rancho Cordova Police Department
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrested Mikilo Morgan Rawls (37), who is a transient from the Sacramento County area, in connection with the brutal sexual assault and homicide of Emma Roark (20) of Rancho Cordova.

Roark was reported missing back on Jan. 27 by her family. She was last seen leaving her home around 12 p.m. 

Police said it took four days of searching before they found her body. She was found in a secluded rural area at the river access on El Manto.

Roark’s family confirmed to ABC10 Roark was autistic and had gone for a walk in the middle of the day Thursday, Jan. 27, and never came home.

Roark’s family told ABC10 they were frustrated it took 48 hours before law enforcement would begin searching for her. 

ABC10 in early February spoke with Wyatt Walth, the office coordinator with Sacramento Autism Services who explained how a missing persons’ situation could be different for an autistic person.

“Autistic people exist on a very wide spectrum and I believe law enforcement officials need to be trained to account for specific needs during the time of an emergency,” explained Walth.

Rawls was arrested Friday and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on felony charges of murder, rape and sodomy. Rawls is being held without bail.  

Watch: Arrest made in death of Rancho Cordova's Emma Roark

This is a developing story check back for updates.


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