Daily Updates

May 12, 2013

Brother arrested in fatal Calif. stabbing of girl

VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have arrested the 12-year-old brother of an 8-year-old girl who was mysteriously stabbed to death at her home in a rural Northern California community last month.

The boy, who was not identified, will be charged with homicide, according to Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz.

The April 27 attack on Leila Fowler shook the tightknit Valley Springs community of about 7,400 people and set off a massive manhunt.

The boy had told police he found his sister’s body and encountered an intruder in the home while their parents were at a Little League game. He described the man as being tall with long gray hair. Afterward, however, police said there was no sign of a burglary or robbery at the house.

Local officials began to pledge support Sunday. The Calaveras Unified School District “stands ready to provide whatever level of support and assistance is necessary to the Fowler family” and the community, Superintendent Mark Campbell said in a statement. The district will make counselors available at all schools, he said.

Following the child’s death, investigators did a door-to-door sweep of homes, storage sheds and horse stables scattered across the oak-studded hills foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Divers also searched two nearby reservoirs in search of clues.

As part of the investigation, authorities seized several knives from the Fowler home — where Leila lived with her father, stepmother and siblings. A neighbor who told detectives she saw a man flee the home later recanted the story and was discredited by police.

Leila’s brother was taken into custody at 5:10 p.m. Saturday, and police hastily called a news conference to announce the arrest.

“Citizens of Calaveras County, you can sleep a little better tonight,” Kuntz said.

Authorities spent over 2,000 hours on the investigation “to provide Leila Fowler’s family answers to her death,” the sheriff said.

Kuntz said the investigation was ongoing. He declined to provide further details.

Several days after the killing, hundreds of people gathered at Jenny Lind Elementary School where Leila was a popular third grader. Her mother, Krystal Walters, tearfully thanked the crowd for the support.

“I just want to thank the entire community and all of our family and friends for all the overwhelming amount of support you’ve given our family,” Walters said at the time. “It will never be forgotten. Thank you.”

 

1
Text Only
Daily Updates
  • In Other News, April 23

    April 23, 2014

  • US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    The Justice Department is encouraging nonviolent federal inmates who have behaved in prison, have no significant criminal history and have already served more than 10 years behind bars to apply for clemency, officials announced Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • High court tosses $3.4M award to child porn victim

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims.

    April 23, 2014

  • Airport security vulnerabilities not uncommon

    For all the tens of billions of dollars that the nation has spent on screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable investment to secure the airplanes themselves.

    April 23, 2014

  • Deal signs bill expanding gun rights in Georgia

    Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation expanding where people with licenses to carry can bring their guns in Georgia.

    April 23, 2014

  • Indian film awards arrive in Tampa, Fla., but why?

    The so-called Bollywood Oscars have been held in Macau, Singapore, London — and now, Tampa?

    April 23, 2014

  • Indictment: Prosecutor targeted in kidnapping plot

    A North Carolina prosecutor was the intended target of an elaborate kidnapping plot, but the kidnappers looked up the wrong address on the Internet and abducted the prosecutor’s father instead, according to an indictment released Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Republican activists push party on gay marriage

    As bans against gay marriage crumble and public opinion on the issue shifts rapidly, some Republicans are pushing the party to drop its opposition to same-sex unions, part of a broader campaign to get the GOP to appeal to younger voters by de-emphasizing social issues.

    April 23, 2014

  • Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

    Missouri executed an inmate early Wednesday only a few miles from the farm where prosecutors say he orchestrated the 1993 killing of a couple whose cows he wanted to steal.

    April 23, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday.

    April 22, 2014

AP Video