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Mikilo Rawls Charged In Emma Roark Murder

Mikilo Rawls

Mikilo Rawls has been charged in the brutal sexual assault and murder of Emma Roark. According to court documents twenty year old Emma Roark was found last week in a secluded area near the American River by Sacramento California. The young woman had been sexually assaulted and brutally murdered. Emma Roark had last been seen five days before her body was found. Sacramento Police have announced the arrest of Mikilo Rawls, a homeless man who has a criminal record dating back to 2005. Mikilo Rawls DNA was in the State’s database and it was used to tie him to the murder of Emma Roark. Mikilo Rawls has been charged with murder, sexual assault and an assortment of other charges. It is a shame that California’s death penalty is headed out the door for it is definitely needed in a case like this

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Sacramento County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jim Barnes on Friday described the “gruesome” crime scene of a Rancho Cordova woman who was sexually assaulted and killed; her body was found last week in a secluded area near the American River. “You can’t unsee this. This is as bad as it gets,” Barnes said about brutal nature of the woman’s death. “Now, imagine the family has to deal with this and the ripple effect that comes with that.” Emma Roark was last seen alive Jan. 27 near Coloma Road and McGregor Drive in Rancho Cordova. Her body was found five days later near the El Manto access point along the river parkway after an extensive search.

At a news conference Friday evening, Barnes and Rancho Cordova Police Chief Brandon Luke said DNA evidence led investigators to identify Mikilo Morgan Rawls as the suspect in Roark’s death. On Friday, Rawls, a 37-year-old homeless man from Rancho Cordova, was arrested on suspicion of murder, rape by means of force, violence or fear and sodomy, according to jail records. Rawls has a criminal record in Sacramento County stretching back to at least 2005, and his DNA is in law enforcement databases as a result. Barnes declined to provide any specific details about the forensic evidence that led to a DNA match, except to say “we were able to confirm that we know that it’s Mr. Rawls.”

Barnes said the information gathered in the investigation showed that Roark left her home about noon for a walk. Six hours later, her family became concerned and called Rancho Cordova police to report her missing. He said now investigators are working to determine what circumstances led to her sexual assault and death. “Now, we know who’s responsible. We have to work backwards to fill in the gaps,” Barnes said.

He said the Rancho Cordova community was on high alert, and tips flooded in early including possible sightings that were crucial in the case. As investigators focused their investigation and determined Rawls was the suspect, there were some people who spoke to investigators and were helpful, but Barnes didn’t want to provide further details. Luke called Roark’s death “a very gruesome crime” that was investigated and resulted in an arrest with the collaboration of tips of the public, Rancho Cordova police and the Sheriff’s Office. He said the investigation also involved help from park rangers and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Crime Lab. “This type of evil will not define the city of Rancho Cordova,” Luke told reporters. “Its citizens, the city government, its leaders and the Rancho Cordova Police Department stand committed in providing a safe environment for all our residents.”

Barnes and Luke declined to discuss whether Rawls and Roark knew each other before the encounter that led to her death. Barnes said he didn’t want to reveal more details about the crime itself, fearing it could harm the pending criminal case in court.

He said the American River Parkway is a beautiful outdoor recreation area the capital region takes pride in, and they encourage all to continue visiting. But Barnes also warned parkway is “littered with transient population, encampments.” He urged visitors to be vigilant there at all times, because “we don’t know when a crime like this is going to occur.” “This individual was transient. The Sheriff’s Office is sympathetic to the transient population, we understand people are experiencing hard times. But there is evil amongst them, and that’s what Mr. Rawls was,” Barnes said. “We have to be honest with ourselves, there’s a population down there that will victimize people when there’s an opportunity.”

Luke and Barnes said investigators remained in close contact with Roark’s family throughout the investigation, and now they are focused on providing them with emotional support. Even with an arrest, Barnes said Roark’s family still has to deal with the shocking circumstances of her death

“We want to find out who is responsible for this, because no family should have to go through this.” Barnes said. “We threw all the resources at this as we would in a crime like this.”

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