The mother of a 12-year-old boy accused of stabbing his little sister to death said her son would never hurt his sister.
“They never even used to fight when they were little,” Priscilla Rodriguez told CBS Sacramento in an interview on the eve of the boy's arrest. “I would never see him be mean to her.”
There were few details available early Monday, a day after the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department announced that it had made an arrest in the stabbing death of 8-year-old Leila Fowler. The suspect: her older brother.
“I seen him at the vigil, he came up to me and I hugged him and held him so tight,” Rodriguez said. “I told him I loved him and was sorry this happened to his sister.”
The boy was arrested on a murder charge Saturday at the Valley Springs substation of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department, two weeks after investigators began the manhunt for Leila’s killer. No information was immediately available on where the boy was being held.
Sheriff’s officials did not release the boy’s name and said no new details of the investigation would be released at this time.
The attack drew national attention because of the boy’s statement to investigators that a man had entered the family home in Valley Springs and killed Leila. As the search continued, authorities warned residents to keep their doors locked.
News of the boy’s arrest brought a wave of relief to the rural area southeast of Sacramento, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
"Citizens of Calaveras County, you can sleep a little better tonight," Sheriff Gary Kuntz told reporters Saturday.
Leila and her brother were home together on the night of April 27 while their parents attended a Little League game. The boy told investigators he had heard an intruder, saw a man running from the home and then found his severely wounded sister.
He called his parents, then 911, officials said. An autopsy determined Leila died of shock and bleeding as a result of multiple stab wounds.
Later, sheriff’s officials said there was no sign of a burglary or robbery at the house. Their pursuit of a suspect the boy described as being tall and gray-haired took them door to door and shed to shed. They also searched two reservoirs.
Kuntz said Saturday that investigators spent more than 2,000 hours on the case and were helped by numerous agencies, including the FBI and California Department of Justice.