Stabbing of Calif. Girl, 8, Looks Intentional: Sheriff

Authorities say Leila Fowler wasn't killed in course of botched robbery

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 30, 2013 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Authorities are still looking for the man who murdered 8-year-old Leila Fowler in her California home Saturday afternoon, and the county sheriff says the stabbing appears to have been intentional—and not part of a botched robbery or other crime. The sheriff didn't elaborate, USA Today reports. Valley Springs, located 115 miles east of San Francisco, was put on lockdown in the immediate aftermath of the third-grader's murder, and many parents are still keeping their children indoors: Schools in the area have an increased security presence, and 92 students at Fowler's elementary school were absent yesterday—more than triple the normal number, the Modesto Bee reports.

Investigators are also interviewing registered sex offenders in the area, WPTV reports, though it's not clear yet if sexual assault was involved. Complicating matters is the fact that police have two different descriptions, one from Leila's 12-year-old brother, who saw the intruder before finding his sister, and the other from a second possible witness. (The brother, who was baby-sitting Leila when she was murdered, is not a suspect.) A former FBI profiler says it's unlikely the killing was random or committed by a stranger. "I would think it would be somebody who has some kind of connection with the home," he tells Fox 40. "You might think there is some sort of anger issue there."

Teacher Cecilia Richardson helps a student tie a ribbon honoring murder victim, third grader Leila Fowler, at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs, Calif., Monday April 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Students at Jenny Lind Elementary School tie ribbons honoring murder victim Leila Fowler, in Valley Springs, Calif., Monday April 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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