Society

Fingerprints and DNA Evidence Collected in Murder Case of 8-Year-Old Leila Fowler

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Investigators in California have found fingerprints and what they believe to be DNA evidence at the crime scene where 8-year-old Leila Fowler was found stabbed to death Saturday afternoon.

The girl’s 12-year-old brother found Leila dead in their Valley Springs home Saturday and called for help. He claimed he also encountered a male intruder in their home, but the man ran away. Fowler was pronounced dead at the hospital.

No arrests have been made. Police collected fingerprints and DNA evidence in the home they believe belongs to the suspect. Calaveras County investigators are looking for a white or Hispanic male, 6-feet tall with a muscular build and long, gray hair. He was last seen wearing a long-sleeved black t-shirt and blue pants.

Police went door to door in the small Northern California town, but no new evidence emerged. "It is a difficult area to search, it's rural, remote," said sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo.

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Security at schools and bus stops in the area was stepped up. Grief counselors were dispatched to Fowler’s school.

“As we all grapple with the tragic and senseless loss of one of our own,” School district super intendent Mark Campbell said in a statement Sunday, “we do so knowing that we will be ready to do what is necessary to provide a safe environment for students and for staff, and to stand unified and strong as we provide whatever level of support and assistance that is necessary to help the family, our students, our parents and our staff process the unthinkable.”

A candlelight vigil will be held Tuesday in her name.

Sources: UPI, LA Times, Mercury News