Community meeting

Rancho Cordova Community Meeting Held on Public Safety

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — The murder of a young woman in Rancho Cordova brought together police and concerned members of the community Thursday night.

They have come together around a common priority: public safety and preventing similar crimes from happening again.

Authorities said the body of Emma Roark, 20, was found in a secluded area near the American River earlier this month. Residents said they now want solutions, including better security and fewer homeless residents in the area.

“This senseless crime has shaken our community,” Rancho Cordova City Manager Cyrus Abhar said.

“I know we don’t feel like it as we’re sitting here right now, but the boardwalk is a safe area,” park staff said.

Park staff and law enforcement were on hand as people called for change. Some want more lights and cameras along popular walks.

“I’m so far with this. I know your hands are tied,” said a resident who lives near the park.

Police arrested Mikilo Morgan Rawls, who authorities say was visiting the Sacramento area, for allegedly kidnapping, raping and killing Roark. The conversation at the meeting eventually turned to the homelessness epidemic.

Some people said they were frustrated with the slow removal of camps along the promenade.

“We have a lot of catching up to do due to the health order put in place by the state,” Abhar said.

Others cautioned that another approach should be used.

“Homelessness is not a crime,” said one resident. “I beg people not to make a statement. They are a small minority of people who have a difficult path.

The city said it was working to fix the problem, saying affordable housing has been built nearby. They added that more is planned.

“My condolences to his family,” Roark’s friend Remi Millette said. “I’m glad it’s a safe place for everyone to express their thoughts.”

Millette said she met Roark in a skate group.

“She was awesome,” Millette said. “I just hope that in light of Emma’s death, people will be hyper vigilant to stay safe, even in places that are familiar to them. There are a lot of people in this world who are not no good people.By hyper alert, be careful and don’t walk alone.

Police continue to stress that people should report suspicious activity. The City of Rancho Cordova said it hopes to make more resources available to address homelessness at one of its future meetings.