The Leila Fowler case may have taken a new turn after police arrested a man for breaking into a home and attempting to kidnap a 15-month-old girl from her mother. Police are investigating as to whether there may be a link between the Fowler case and this latest attempted kidnapping.
"We have no confirmed nexus to the Calaveras County case," Placerville Police Captain Mike Scott told The Sacramento Bee. However, Placerville officers have been in touch with those working on the Fowler case, and a DNA sample has been collected from the suspect.
Jason Wayrynen, 44, was arrested earlier this morning after attempting to kidnap a toddler from her mother. Wayrynen followed a woman into the Placerville apartment and began struggling with the toddler's mother. She managed to call the police, who quickly responded and arrested Wayrynen.
Police have said that there are similarities between Wayrynen and the description of the murderer provided by Leila Fowler's 12-year-old brother. He was the last one to see his sister alive and was able to give police a description of the intruder who fled the scene after stabbing Fowler to death.
Authorities took DNA samples and fingerprints from the Fowler home and will use them to compare with those of Wayrynen. If he is found to be the murderer, it will put an entire community at ease. Police warned those living near the Fowler residence to be on guard and aware of those around them.
"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 told ABC News.
The murder has shocked the quiet Calaveras community, which has come together in mourning for the 8-year-old girl. Grief counselors have been brought back to Fowler's school in order to help her friends deal with the situation.
"That team will be back on campus today," Principal Amy Hasselwander told ABC. "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."
A vigil was held last night and was the first time Fowler's family spoke about Leila.
Watch a report on the situation here: