The investigation into the death of a 9-year-old Rancho Calaveras girl continued today, Calaveras County Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Macedo said. He declined to give specific details about the cause of her death, which is widely reported as having been from stabbing.
Macedo identified the girl as Leila Fowler and said her 12-year-old brother discovered her with severe injuries after he first glimpsed an intruder in their Rippon Road home Saturday afternoon. The children’s parents were away at a “public event,” Macedo said. The girl was pronounced dead at Mark Twain Medical Center in San Andreas.
The boy telephoned the parents, who then called 911 and a dispatcher then called the home and talked to the boy before deputies arrived, Macedo said.
Rippon Road and neighboring streets were closed to anyone except residents, who were told to stay indoors behind locked doors while a search continued throughout the rest of Saturday and into Sunday. The closure remained in effect Sunday, but Macedo said he hoped it could “potentially” be lifted by Sunday evening.
Asked at the press conference if the brother was a suspect, Macedo said, “He is not a suspect at this time, but we are continuing to talk to him.” Tips and leads continue to come into the Sheriff’s Office, including from outside Calaveras County, Macedo said. He described the investigation as “very active” and said there is “no specific suspect.”
Macedo said a search warrant was issued Saturday night and evidence, including fingerprints and DNA, was collected at the crime scene.
Descriptions of the alleged intruder varied, Macedo said. The Sheriff’s Office earlier said that multiple law enforcement agencies were searching the area for a suspect described as a white or Hispanic male, with longer gray hair, 6-foot, muscular build, last seen wearing a black long sleeved shirt and blue pants. This suspect is considered armed and dangerous.
Assisting the Sheriff’s Office were law enforcement officers from the Angels Camp Police Department; sheriff’s offices in San Joaquin, Tuolumne and Amador counties, the state Department of Justice and the Highway Patrol. The FBI had been contacted but was not actively involved in the investigation.
Residents were asked to report suspicious activity and to call 911 if they see something. A tip line has been set up at 754-6030.