Vigil held for murdered 8-year-old Leila Fowler

April 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Gold Country, authorities are continuing to look at anyone and anything that might help find whoever killed a little girl. Eight-year-old Leila Fowler was stabbed to death in her home in Valley Springs in Calaveras County over the weekend. Tuesday night, a vigil was held in her honor.

The emotions are raw for those who knew young Leila.

"She was really, really sweet, but had her shy moments, happy little girl, cared about a lot of people, a lot," family friend Kennedie Pekarek said.

Tuesday morning, the house where Leila was killed was quiet. The yellow tape was gone, along with most of the police cars. There were a few stuffed animals at the mailbox.

Last night, Leila's parents stood stoically behind sheriff's investigators as they talked about their daughter's murder and the information provided by their 12-year-old son, who found Leila.

"The 12-year-old son saw a subject in his home," Capt. Jim Macedo said. "We use the term intruder. He briefly followed this person until the person left the house and that's when he went to check on his sister."

Meanwhile, the effort to keep things normal and safe continues at Leila's school, where counselors and police remain a constant presence.

"That team will be back on campus today," Principal Amy Hasselwander said. "It includes school psychologists, chaplains, peer counselors from the high school, working with the kids, the community and the parents to deal with the grief, the tragedy and also the fear."

For the first time on Tuesday night we heard from the girl's heartbroken family. Her mother said a few words at the vigil thanking everyone for their support.

The sheriff in Calaveras County says it is unlikely that a man accused of trying to kidnap a toddler in Placerville is also responsible for killing Leila. Jason Wayrynen was arrested Tuesday. Police say the mother of the toddler "struggled with and overpowered" Wayrynen before officers arrived.

A Memorial Fund has been set up for Leila Fowler at F&M Bank of Central California. Please mail all donations to:
F&M Bank
18836 E. Main Street
Linden, CA 95236
Questions: (209) 887-2299
Routing # 1211 08441
Acct# 421934101


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