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Brother Charged in Murder of 8-year-old Leila Fowler

Leila Fowler was found stabbed to death in her Valley Springs home April 27. Her 12-year-old brother was home at the time and told police he saw an intruder commit the crime before the attacker ran off.

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Leila Fowler

SACRAMENTO (KTLA) — A 12-year-old boy charged with second degree murder Tuesday in the stabbing death of his little sister, Leila Fowler was arraigned Wednesday.

The boy, who was not identified because of his age, appeared in court with chains around his waist, according to Sacramento TV station KXTV.

He was asked several times by the judge if he understood the charges against him and he answered, “Yes,” each time, KXTV reported

The boy was ordered to remain in custody.

He is due back in court May 29.

Leila Fowler, 8, was found stabbed to death at the family home in Valley Springs on April 27.

Her brother told deputies that he found Leila dead after an intruder broke into their home.

His description of a tall man with a muscular build launched a 15-day manhunt.

VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. — The father of a boy accused of fatally stabbing his 8-year-old sister, Leila Fowler, said authorities need to show him evidence before he’ll believe that his son is a killer.

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Leila Fowler

“Until they have the proper evidence to show it’s my son, we’re standing behind him,” Barney Fowler told the Associated Press. “If they have the evidence, well, that’s another story. We’re an honest family.”

Leila was found stabbed to death in her Valley Springs home April 27. Her 12-year-old brother was home at the time and told police he saw an intruder commit the crime before the attacker ran off.

A witness corroborated the boy’s description of the attacker but later recanted the statement. The boy was arrested on a murder charge Saturday at the Valley Springs substation of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. –Authorities arrested a 12-year-old boy on Saturday in connection with the murder of his 8-year-old sister.

Calaveras County sheriff’s investigators arrested Leila Fowler’s brother after the girl was found stabbed to death last month.

Last week, authorities arrested Jason Wayrynen, 42, last week in connection with the murder.

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Authorities have scoured the rural Sierra foothill community, combing tall grass and searching attics and outbuildings for any signs the murderer.

Investigators said they have gathered fingerprints and possible DNA from the home.

Multiple agencies have joined the investigation, and the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department has been in contact with the FBI.

VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. — On the driveway to Jenny Lind Elementary in Valley Springs, two pink and purple hearts bookend the name “Leila,” one of many tributes across campus and Calaveras County to 8-year-old Leila Fowler.

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While the ribbons and stuffed animals holding flowers are artistic expressions of a community’s grief, inside the school, the verbal expressions of a childhood lost are all around.

“We’re just letting kids talk. Letting kids talk about their fears, letting them talk about their concerns,” Jenny Lind Principal Amy Hasselwander said Tuesday.

Twenty grief counselors are on campus, giving the students an outlet, someone other than Mom and Dad to talk to.

“They haven’t apprehended the guy yet and some of the kids have asked some pretty hard questions,” Calaveras Consolidated Fire Captain Dick Brown said.

Teachers and grief counselors at Jenny Lind were also working to help their students understand what happened to Leila.

“Those are their kids. Somebody hurt one of their kids. So they tend to struggle with it, some of the bus drivers are struggling with it,” Brown said.

“I think we’re kind of all functioning at this point. We’re not really taking the time to think of ourselves right now,” roving teacher Sharon Mejia said.

The community is struggling to put on a brave face. More than 1,000 people gathered at the girl’s school Tuesday for a vigil to remember Leila as her mother tearfully thanked the crowd for their support.

“It will never be forgotten,” she said.

Calaveras County sheriff’s deputies, meanwhile, are continuing the hunt for the girl’s killer. On Monday, authorities interviewed sex offenders who live near the neighborhood where Leila was stabbed to death.

Some offenders are being photographed and some are having their homes searched, Sgt. Chris Hewitt said Monday.

“They have not been ruled out,” he said.

Authorities have scoured the rural Sierra foothill community, combing tall grass and searching attics and outbuildings for any signs the suspect.

Investigators said they have gathered fingerprints and possible DNA from the home.

Multiple agencies have joined the investigation, Capt. Jim Macedo said, and the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department has been in contact with the FBI.

Detectives conducted follow-up interviews with witnesses and the girl’s family and are pursuing tips, including some from outside the county.

-Los Angeles Times

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