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Family of Rancho Cordova woman found dead seek justice

The park where Emma Roark's body was found is less than a mile from the family's home.

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. — The search for a missing Rancho Cordova woman has ended after detectives say she was found dead. 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 police detectives say they made the discovery in the river access at the end of El Manto Drive.

The area, part of the American River Parkway, is mostly frequented by bikers, joggers, the unhoused and people enjoying the American River.

Kevin Morgenstern was biking through the area Wednesday. He reacted to the news Roark’s body had been found.

“I was shocked by it actually. My wife and I were riding yesterday and we saw posters for the first time of somebody missing. Then to hear the next morning the body was found and they suspect it was murder was horrible and shocking,” said Morgenstern.

Suzanne Hartley and Caryn Galeckes were also out riding their bikes.

“For me it’s a tragedy and it makes me just really sad that’s the kind of things that are happening now in the world. But I also love exercising and being outside and so it just makes me want to be cautious but I’m not going to stop,” explained Hartley.

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.

“That was the thing, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m thinking to my wife you’re not coming down here alone again,’” explained Morgenstern talking about how the news would make him more cautious.

Roark’s family told ABC10 they’re frustrated it took 48 hours before law enforcement would begin searching for her. However, they said right now, their entire focus is on finding her killer.

“What if there’s some kind of nut out here that just decided this is a good place to apply his trade or something, you know?” questioned Morgenstern.

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