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California Police Search For Suspect In 8-Year-Old Girl's Fatal Stabbing

posted 29 Apr 2013, 10:21 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 29 Apr 2013, 10:21 ]

northern California community is shaken as authorities continue to search for a man suspected of killing an 8-year-old girl.

VALLEY SPRINGS, CALIFORNIAUNITED STATES (APRIL 28, 2013) (NBC) - Authorities were searching on Monday (April 29) for a man suspected of stabbing an 8-year-old girl to death at a home in a northern California suburb, officials said.

Residents of Valley Springs, California, 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Sacramento, were warned to stay inside their homes over the weekend with their doors locked as investigators fanned out across the region, hunting for the girl's attacker.

NBC News reported more than 100 officials from various law enforcement agencies were patrolling the area as children returned to school on Monday.

Detectives interviewed potential witnesses, family members and collected fingerprints and possible DNA from the home where the girl was killed on Saturday (April 27), but had no specific suspect, the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The sheriff's office identified the girl as Leila Fowler, 8, and said it expected an autopsy to be performed on Monday. They had previously said she was 9 years old.

"We did collect some fingerprints during that search and we also collected what we believe to be DNA. Those prints and that DNA will hopefully be processed within the next week," Captain Jim Macedo of the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office said.

Debi Roberts knew the child and tied purple ribbons on trees in her honor.

"She's happy, happy, smiley, always saw her in pink or purple. Just happy and everybody loved her," she told NBC affiliate KCRA.

Authorities said the girl's 12-year-old brother encountered an intruder in his home on Saturday afternoon and the suspect fled, according to KCRA, a local television news station. The boy then went to check on his sister and found her stabbed. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, KCRA reported.

The sheriff said the suspect was considered armed and dangerous and described him as a "muscular" white or Hispanic man, about 6-feet (1.83-meters) tall with longish gray hair. They said he was last seen wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and blue pants.

The sheriff's office said it had notified the local school district about the case and planned to have an increased presence at the schools and bus stops on Monday.