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Brother, 12, arrested in stabbing death of 8-year-old Calif. girl

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:24 p.m. HST, May 12, 2013

VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. >> A day before a 12-year-old boy was arrested for the stabbing death of his 8-year-old sister, his mother described him as "protective" of his younger sibling.

Leila Fowler's killing last month shook the quiet community of Valley Springs, southeast of Sacramento, and set off an intense manhunt. Her brother was in the home at the time and told police he saw a man run from the scene.

Days later, the boy appeared with his father and stepmother at a vigil for his sister. On Friday, as speculation in the community built that perhaps the boy was involved, his biological mother told Sacramento television station KOVR her son "could never hurt his sister."

"I've never seen him be mean to her," said Priscilla Rodriquez.

Less than a day later, police delivered the stunning news: The 12-year-old boy had been arrested and will be charged with homicide.

For a community still reeling from the killing, the news was another blow.

"It's bad enough to lose a child. I can't imagine losing a child by one of my own children," Patti Campbell, a longtime area resident and owner of Campbell's Country Kitchen, told The Associated Press.

Campbell, a resident of the area for 33 years and the operator of the Valley Springs restaurant for 15 of them, said she had served Leila and her family in her restaurant.

"It's just shocking. I don't know what else to say," Campbell said.

Other residents expressed similar feelings of disbelief.

"I did not want to believe it. You kind of thought so, but it's not something you want to believe," resident Tammy Ainsworth told Sacramento's KCRA-TV.

Calaveras Unified School District Superintendent Mark Campbell said counselors will be available Monday at all schools.

The district "stands ready to provide whatever level of support and assistance is necessary to the Fowler family" and the community at large, he said Sunday.

Police released no information about what led them to arrest the unidentified 12-year-old for the April 27 attack. Following the crime, 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.

Leila's brother 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 tall with long gray hair. A neighbor told detectives she saw a man flee the home, but she later recanted the story.

Police said there was no sign of a burglary or robbery. As part of the investigation, authorities seized several knives from the Fowler home, where Leila lived with her father, stepmother and siblings.

Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz said authorities spent more than 2,000 hours on the investigation before they arrested the boy at 5:10 p.m. Saturday.

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HealthyandHappy wrote:
Was it an evil black assault knife?
on May 12,2013 | 01:40AM
mokebla wrote:
Really sick ko and you're healthy & happy. You're belong in the nut house in kaneohe red roof college.
on May 12,2013 | 03:58AM
hanalei395 wrote:
With that comment, "Healthy and Happy" ....in what? ....If it's sarcasm, you're actually sick.
on May 12,2013 | 08:38AM
FluidMotion wrote:
We should immediately legislate a knife ban. If the kid was listening to rap music or heavy metal we should ban that too! Ban soda because he was probably under the influence of sugar like substances.
on May 12,2013 | 11:12AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
What could possibly drive a 12yo boy to kill his younger sister, if he is indeed the murderer?
on May 12,2013 | 06:20AM
mikethenovice wrote:
All those violent video games which numb the brain in the attacking mode.
on May 12,2013 | 10:36AM
aomohoa wrote:
This is one sick kid that needs some serious mental help. Maybe one of those "bad seeds." I would like to know something about the parents.
on May 12,2013 | 09:43AM
hanalei395 wrote:
The real life for this kid has ended. From now on, he'll just be breathing.
on May 12,2013 | 11:02AM
steveoctober wrote:
Parents should be force to repay all the costs. Ship the boy off to North Korea for lifetime hard labor.
on May 12,2013 | 10:23AM
mikethenovice wrote:
What smartphone game app are we allowing the kids to learn from?
on May 12,2013 | 10:33AM
mikethenovice wrote:
We just saw Jodi Aries crime. Now we are still seeing murders being committed by our young ones. This has to stop.
on May 12,2013 | 10:38AM
allie wrote:
yikes,,, scary out there
on May 12,2013 | 10:41AM
mikethenovice wrote:
So many innocent people in jail because they could not walk away.
on May 12,2013 | 11:09AM
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