Leila Fowler: Brother Arrested in Fatal Stabbing of 8-Year-Old California Girl
Leila Fowler's brother told police he encountered an intruder in the home.
May 12, 2013— -- The 12-year-old brother of 8-year-old Leila Fowler, who said his sister was stabbed to death in their home by an intruder last month, has been arrested.
The Calaveras County Sheriff's Office in Northern California announced the arrest of the 12-year-old boy late Saturday. His name is not being released since he is a minor. He is expected to be charged with homicide.
On April 27, Leila's brother told authorities he found his sister's body stabbed to death after an intruder broke into their home.
The 12-year-old said he called his parents, who alerted sheriff's deputies. The boy told authorities the intruder, who he described as a tall man with a muscular build, fled the scene.
The boy's description launched a sweeping manhunt, as authorities warned residents to be on the lookout for an "armed and dangerous" suspect.
The 15-day investigation included going door to door, searching storage sheds and stables and sending divers to search two reservoirs for clues.
Several knives were taken from the Fowlers' home to determine if one of them had been used in the murder, the Associated Press reported. In the days after the stabbing, a neighbor who told police she saw a man flee the home also recanted her story, the AP reported.
Authorities initially said Leila's brother was not a suspect, but acknowledged they were continuing to talk with him.
"We are continuing to talk to him, which would be normal because he was the last person with the child," Calaveras County Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo said at a news conference last month.
Macedo said at the news conference investigators had collected fingerprints and what they believed to be DNA at the crime scene.
It was not immediately known what led authorities to arrest the 12-year-old boy on Saturday.
After a tense two weeks, Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz said he hoped the arrest would bring some peace of mind to a community that has been on edge.
"Citizens of Calaveras County, you can sleep a little better tonight," he said.