As police searched for the intruder who authorities believe fatally stabbed an 8-year-old girl in her Calaveras County home, the rural community where she lived was left stunned.
Leila Fowler was found in her Valley Springs home Saturday afternoon and pronounced dead at a hospital. Her 12-year-old brother had called for help, saying he'd encountered a male intruder in the house. (The girl, a third-grader, was previously said to be 9 years old.)
Multiple law enforcement agencies are still searching for a suspect described as a white or Latino man, about 6 feet tall with a muscular build, last seen wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and blue pants.
Authorities were conducting a door-to-door sweep of homes, checking storage sheds and horse stables and searching attics. “It is a difficult area to search. It's rural, remote,” sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo told the Associated Press.
According to Fox 40, Mark Campbell, the school district’s superintendent, said in a statement Sunday:
“As we all grapple with the tragic and senseless loss of one of our own, we do so knowing that we will be ready to do what is necessary to provide a safe environment for students and for staff, and to stand unified and strong as we provide whatever level of support and assistance that is necessary to help the family, our students, our parents and our staff process the unthinkable.”
Campbell added that counselors would be on hand at Jenny Lind Elementary, Toyon Middle School and Calaveras High School. There will also be an added law enforcement presence at Jenny Lind Elementary and nearby bus stops, according to Fox 40.
KCRA reported that Leila was one of seven children in her family.
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