12-Year-Old California Boy Accused of Stabbing 8-Year-Old Sister Leila Fowler to Death
The manhunt for the killer of an 8-year-old California girl who was stabbed to death on April 27 has ended with a suspect in police custody– the slain girl’s own 12-year-old brother.
Police in Valley Springs, Calaveras County announced on Saturday that the boy, who is not being named because he is a minor, was arrested after lying to police claiming he’d seen a man running from his home and his sister, Leila Fowler, dying inside on the floor. That lie sparked a massive manhunt in which police performed door-to-door sweeps of area homes, storage sheds and horse stables. Divers also searched local reservoirs for clues, to no avail.
A neighbor who told police she saw a man running from the Fowlers’ home later recanted her story.
ABC 7 reports that the police manhunt consumed more than 2,000 hours over a 15-day period.
“Citizens of Calaveras County can sleep a little better tonight,” Sheriff Gary Kuntz said at a news conference announcing the boy’s arrest. But his family surely won’t be counted among those sound-sleeping citizens.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what his mom is going through, or his step-mom,” Valley Springs resident Sandra Huckaby told ABC 7. “It’s a terrible tragedy.”
“I can’t understand how could this happen,” Priscilla Rodriquez, the children’s mother, told ABC 7. “I’m still having a really hard time grasping that she’s gone, I can’t accept it, this doesn’t happen.”
“I know my son has always been protective of his sister, I just don’t know,” Rodriquez added.
Residents of Valley Springs, a community of 3,500 located at the western edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento, expressed their shock and disbelief about the boy’s arrest.
“It saddened me and my whole family,” resident Brenda Smith told ABC 7. “It’s an awful thing. We feel really, especially sad on this Mother’s Day, because a mother’s lost her child. One is gone forever and one is in jail, and it’s a sad thing.”