9-Year-Old Killed by Intruder in Rural California Home

Monday, 29 Apr 2013 08:34 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Police continued to search Monday for the intruder that broke into a rural California home Saturday and stabbed and killed a young girl.

The suspect, described as a white or Latino male with long, gray hair and a muscular build, allegedly broke into a house in Valley Springs on Saturday and fatally stabbed Leila Fowler, 8, according to NBC affiliate KCRA. She was initially reported as being 9, but Calaveras County Coroner Kevin Raggio said Sunday that she would have turned 9 this summer, according to The Associated Press.

Fowler's 12-year-old brother was reportedly in the home at the time of the attack, and found his sister stabbed after the intruder fled. He then called his parents to inform them of the break-in. Leila Fowler was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, officials said.

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Police conducted a door-to-door manhunt for the suspect, who was last seen wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and blue pants.

"We were doing a house-to-house search and in some cases were searching attics and storages," Calaveras County Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo told the New York Daily News Saturday night. "It's a difficult area to search. It's rural, it’s remote."

News of the killing shook the small community, which lies about an hour outside of Sacramento.

"A lot of us here are used to keeping our doors unlocked, our cars unlocked," Connie Brodie told CNN affiliate KOVR on Sunday. "I'm sure a lot of families last night locked all their windows, locked all their doors for the first time."

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A search of the family's home overnight Saturday gave investigators a substantial amount of evidence, police said, including fingerprints and what's believed to be DNA evidence.

As of now, the 12-year-old brother is not being ruled out as a suspect, according to KOVR.

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