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D.A.'s office recuses itself from sibling murder case after prosecutor’s daughter is ID’d as victim

The Placer County district attorney’s office has recused itself from handling the case of a boy accused of killing his sister because of a “strong emotional connection” to one of its prosecutors — the father of the 13-year-old girl found dead this week inside his family home.

Supervising Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeff Wood’s daughter, Ashley Wood, was found dead by her mother Tuesday in her bedroom at their home in Rocklin, 22 miles from Sacramento. Police said the girl was killed by her 14-year-old brother, who was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Because the district attorney’s office has close ties to the Wood family, the Attorney General’s Office will prosecute the case. Police have not named Ashley’s brother because of his age.

Given our strong emotional connection to Mr. Wood and his family it is legally impossible for us to prosecute this case.
Placer County district attorney’s office
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“Given our strong emotional connection to Mr. Wood and his family it is legally impossible for us to prosecute this case,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “With the Attorney General handling the criminal case, it will allow our office to focus on giving Mr. Wood and his family the same love and support that he has given to crime victims during his 18 years of service to our county.”

Prosecuting the case, they said, would be a conflict of interest.

Ashley was found at 10:47 a.m., dead from blunt force trauma to the head in the Monument Springs Drive home, Rocklin Police Capt. Lon Milka told KXTV.  With the help of the California Highway Patrol and Roseville police, detectives found the boy in a field about a mile from the home.

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He was immediately taken into custody and taken to the Placer County Probation Juvenile Detention Facility.

Police declined to say what weapon was used in the attack, and a motive for the killing has not been determined.

The U.S. Department of Justice is assisting Rocklin police with the investigation. Police said multiple crime scenes were found in the home.

Ashley was described as a talented gymnast, who competed around the country.

The young athlete enjoyed the sport so much that she said in her elementary school yearbook she would “be in the Olympics doing gymnastics” in 10 years, KOVR-TV reported.

The district attorney’s office has received condolences from members of the law enforcement and legal communities as well as community leaders, they said.

“Words cannot express our appreciation for the kind and caring words offered in support of our friend and colleague as he and his family attempt to cope with this tragedy.”

The district attorney’s office asked for privacy for the Wood family, who they said was suffering “immense emotional pain.”

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veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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