Police: Brother, Not Intruder, Killed Calif. Girl

Boy, 12, arrested for murder of 8-year-old Leila Fowler

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 13, 2013 1:08 AM CDT | Updated May 13, 2013 5:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 12-year-old boy who told police that an intruder stabbed his 8-year-old sister to death has been arrested and will be charged with homicide, police say. The killing in the small northern California town of Valley Springs last month sparked a 15-day manhunt after the boy told police a tall, gray-haired man had stabbed his sister, Leila Fowler, while their parents were at a Little League game, the LA Times reports. A neighbor who told police she had seen a man running from the crime scene later recanted her story, reports the Modesto Bee.

Days before the arrest, the boy's mother told reporters that her son could "never hurt his sister," the AP reports. "I've never seen him be mean to her." Area residents say they are stunned by the boy's arrest, but glad that they can rest easier after weeks of fear that the mystery intruder would attack again. Police, who spent thousands of hours in a door-to-door search of the area, haven't said what led them to arrest the boy.

Teacher Cecilia Richardson helps a student tie a ribbon honoring murder victim Leila Fowler at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs, Calif.
Teacher Cecilia Richardson helps a student tie a ribbon honoring murder victim Leila Fowler at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A sign remembering Leila Fowler hangs on a fence at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs, Calif.
A sign remembering Leila Fowler hangs on a fence at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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