Investigators have recovered fingerprints and what they believe is DNA evidence from the crime scene of Leila Fowler, an 8-year-old Calaveras County girl found stabbed to death Saturday afternoon.
The girl was found in her Valley Springs home 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.)
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department issued an update Sunday night:
“The search for a suspect in this case has continued overnight and through the day today,” the department said. “Overnight sheriff’s detectives and members of the California [Department of Justice] Bureau of Forensic Services executed a search warrant at the home where the homicide occurred. Evidence was collected at the scene including fingerprints and what investigators believe is DNA. At this same time, detectives were conducting follow-up interviews with witnesses and family members.”
Police said there are no suspects and more than 100 law enforcement officers are on the case.
The Associated Press reported the girl was found dead by her older brother, who encountered the intruder inside the home.
The assailant was 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.