Leila Fowler Murder Stuns California Town

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Leila Fowler's death has a small California town stunned - and worried.

The stabbing of the 8-year-old girl in her home in Valley Springs, Calif., has residents loading their guns and keeping their kids home from school.

Police, meanwhile, have few clues as they hunt for her killer.

Leila Fowler Photo

Police officials say that Leila Fowler's 12-year-old brother, who was home with his sister Saturday, spotted an intruder, who ran out of the house.

The boy then found his sister badly injured and phoned his parents, who were at a Little League game. Leila was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The county coroner says she died from multiple stab wounds.

Fowler's slaying has devastated the 10-square mile community of about 3,500 in Calaveras County, a sparsely populated area of Central California.

"This is way too close to home," Julia Poland, who has a 13-year-old daughter, told The Modesto Bee. "This kind of thing does not happen here."

The brother described a muscular white or Hispanic man in a black shirt and blue pants, about 6' with long, gray hair. Another witness offered a similar description.

Police, with help from dogs and volunteers, have searched houses, attics, crawl spaces, sheds, outbuildings and tall grass as they hunt for the killer.

Investigators also lifted fingerprints and DNA from the house (lab results should take a week), and checked with local registered sex offenders and parolees.

A candlelight vigil was planned for Tuesday evening at Leila's school.

Leila's parents, Barney Fowler and Krystal Walters, and local law enforcement officials ask that anyone with a tip please call (209) 754-6030.

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