CBS13 reports that Sacramento County police have made an arrest in connection with the death of Emma Roark, the woman from Rancho Cordova whose body was recently found near the American River.
The suspect who is now in custody is Mikilo Morgan Rawls. Rawls is a 37-year-old homeless man who, according to SFGate, has “a long criminal record in Sacramento County” that includes such offenses as burglary, probation violation, possession of ammunition, and resisting arrest.
Authorities are said to have linked Rawls to the crime by way of DNA evidence. Rawls’s DNA had been on file because of his criminal history.
Rawls is now being held in the Sacramento County Main Jail without bail. He is facing charges of rape, sodomy, and murder.
Roark was a 20-year-old woman from the Rancho Cordova area. She went missing on January 27 after going for a noon-day walk near Coloma Road and McGregor Drive.
It wasn’t until just last week, following an intensive search, that Roark’s body was found near the American River. The location was roughly a mile from her Rancho Cordova home, in a secluded rural area near El Manto Drive.
Jim Barnes, the Sacramento County sheriff described the crime scene as “gruesome.”
“You can’t unsee this,” he said. “This is as bad as it gets. Now, imagine the family has to deal with this and the ripple effect that comes with that.”
“This type of violent crime tears at the fabric of community safety,” Barnes added.
Barnes, during his press conference, following Rawls’s arrest, said that he is “confident” that Rawls “is responsible for this brutal crime.” He cited DNA evidence” in combination with “everything we have with the crime lab and the DA’s office.”
“The Sheriff’s Office is sympathetic to the transient population,” Barnes said. “We understand that people are experiencing hard times. But, there is evil amongst them, and that’s what Mr. Rawls was.”
Police Chief Brandon Luke also put out a statement of his own, saying:
This type of evil will not define the city of Rancho Cordova, its citizens, the city government, city leaders and the Rancho Cordova police department. We stand committed to in providing the safe environment for all our residents.