- (Photo: Twitter)
The 12-year-old brother of Leila Fowler has been formally charged with the second-degree murder of his 8-year-old sister. His family stated that they stand by the boy and do not believe that he could commit such a heinous act.
"I've never seen him be mean to her," Priscilla Rodriquez, the boy's biological mother, told CBS News. He "could never hurt his sister."
Leila Fowler was murdered inside her home late last month; her brother was the only other person in the residence at the time but told police that an intruder had killed his sister. He even described the suspect to police, which prompted an intense manhunt of approximately 7,400 people, CBS reported.
Authorities arrested the 12-year-old on Saturday and told the California community that they could "sleep a little better tonight."
A press conference was held to announce the arrest and thank those who spent over 2,000 hours on the investigation. No one has offered a motive for the crime, but the community is standing by and supporting the family of Fowler and her brother.
"It's bad enough to lose a child. I can't imagine losing a child by one of my own children. It's just shocking. I don't know what else to say," resident Patti Campbell told the Associated Press.
Counselors have been at the school the children attended in order to help students come to grips with the crime.
"The district stands ready to provide whatever level of support and assistance is necessary to the Fowler family," Calaveras Unified School District Superintendent Mark Campbell said at a press conference.
Those in the community held a vigil for Leila and offered their support to the entire family. It was the first time that any members of the Fowler family spoke.
"I just want to thank the entire community and all of our family and friends for all the overwhelming amount of support you've given our family. It will never be forgotten. Thank you," Krystal Walters, Leila's mother, said.
Watch a report on the arrest here: