A 12-year-old boy was arrested for the fatal stabbing of his sister, 8-year-old Leila Fowler, who was found murdered in their Valley Springs, Calif., home on April 27. Her brother is being charged with homicide, said Calveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz.
"Citizens of Calaveras County, you can sleep a little better tonight," Kuntz told reporters at a Saturday news conference.
Leila was home alone with her 12-year-old brother on a Saturday when the stabbing took place. Her brother, who was not identified, claimed he saw a male intruder in their home, a Hispanic man, 6-feet tall, with long, gray hair. He told detectives he hid in another room and later found Leila with fatal wounds. She was transported to a hospital where she died.
The boy’s claims sparked a manhunt in Valley Springs.
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"It is a difficult area to search, it's rural, remote," said sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo.
The community was horrified that a murder like this could occur in their town of 7,500 residents. Some citizens claimed they started carrying firearms.
The Fowler family attended candlelight vigil for Leila on Tuesday, April 30.
"During the past 15 days, we have conducted an expansive investigation," Kuntz said. "These types of cases require a considerable amount of time. It was our commitment to make sure that we did as thorough a job as possible."
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Investigators put more than 2,000 hours into the case. Several knives were studied to identify the one used in the stabbing. The sheriff’s department said the information their turned up will all “come out eventually.”