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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Arrest made in homicide of City College student Emma Roark

Emma Roark (seen here in her yearbook photo for her junior year) attended high school at George Washington Carver in Rancho Cordova before becoming a student at City College.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office detectives on Feb. 11 arrested the man suspected responsible for the slaying of Emma Roark, a City College student.

Roark’s family reported her missing Jan. 27 after she went out for a walk by the American River in Rancho Cordova and didn’t return. Search crews found a body matching her description Feb 1.

Suspect Mikilo Morgan Rawls is a 37-year-old transient from the Sacramento County area who resided along the American River near the bike trail where Roark’s body was found, according to a police press release

Rawls is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday, Feb. 15. He faces felony charges of murder, rape and sodomy. He is being held without bail.

Roark was a 20-year-old student at City College who had been completing her general education requirements with aspirations to transfer to a California State University, according to City College President Michael Gutierrez in an email to staff Feb. 4. 

The news of Roark’s death reached City College when one of her professors recognized her on the news as being in one of their classes. 

“We are thankful to hear that an arrest has been made for the tragic killing of Emma Roark,” said City College Public Information Officer Kaitlyn Collignon in an email to the Express. “We continue to keep all of Emma’s family and friends, and our entire community in our thoughts during this heartbreaking time.”

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Roark, who was on the autism spectrum, had previously attended high school at George Washington Carver in Rancho Cordova. 

“She was someone who I really felt like I could have a real conversation with,” said Trevor Sladen, a former high school classmate and friend of Roark’s. “Especially as someone who is also autistic, I felt like she was someone I could be genuine with. I felt like I could just be myself talking to her. She was someone who I related to and connected [with] in that regard.”

Sladen spoke with admiration and care for the person Roark once was. 

“She was really sweet, she was really honest, all the time,” Sladen said. “One of the main things I remember about her besides her kindness and honesty … was her sense of humor. She really liked goofy and nonsensical stuff.”

Roark’s parents had set up a Go Fund Me page, initially intended to aid in the investigation when she was missing but it’s purpose now is to help the family with the funeral arrangements and anything they might need following this tragedy. The page raised $20,000 from 259 donations (new donations have been disabled), and is flooded with comments from people expressing their condolences.  

“What I remember about her is that she was a very sweet girl,” said a comment on the Go Fund Me page. “And I’m sure she was still one of the sweetest people ever. I am hopeful that she will get the justice she deserves.”

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