- (Photo: Twitter)
Leila Fowler, 8, was found stabbed to death in her home in California, and police are busy investigating potential suspects, including sexual offenders in the area. The suspect is considered "armed and dangerous" and her community was put on lockdown for several hours after her body was discovered.
Leila and her 12-year-old brother were home alone when a man invaded their home and reportedly stabbed the little girl. She may have had other injuries, but police have refused to comment about the situation. Leila was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"She was a beautiful little girl," her grandmother told ABC News. "I just hope and pray they find him. Nobody should have to go through this."
In addition to the 12-year-old brother's testimony to police, a neighbor spotted a man running from the home. Police are speaking to both of them in order to gain a better, more accurate description of the suspect. Leila's brother is not considered a suspect, but police have been talking to him, which they said is "normal" since he was the last one to be with Leila before she died.
Police recently announced that they have interviewed several registered sex offenders in the area where Leila lived.
"They have been interviewed and in some cases they have been photographed and in some cases they have been searched," Calaveras County Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo told CNN on Monday night. "We did collect some fingerprints during that search and we also collected what we believe to be DNA. We're searching extensively into attics and storage sheds. It is a difficult area to search," Macedo said at a news conference.
"This is a sad time," Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz added. "We will not rest until we capture the responsible person."
A vigil is planned for tonight at the Jenny Lind Elementary School where Leila attended school. Grief counselors have been present at the school ever since her body was discovered, and have been available to speak to students.
Anyone with information is asked to contact an anonymous tip line at 209-754-6030.
Watch coverage of the crime here: