CALAVERAS COUNTY, CA - A foothills community came together Tuesday night to mourn and remember an 8-year-old girl who was stabbed to death in her Valley Springs home Saturday afternoon.
Leila Fowler died of shock and bleeding caused by stabbing, the county coroner said. The girl's 12-year-old brother said he found her in a room after a man broke into their home on Rippon Road. Three days later, the home remains taped off, with access roads off limits.
Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz said Leila Fowler was not the victim of a random attack, according to a Modesto Bee report. The murder of Leila Fowler remains unsolved.
As many as 900 people signed up on Facebook to attend the candlelight vigil for Leila, wearing purple and pink, her favorite colors. Leila's family delivered tearful messages on a stage outside of Jenny Lind Elementary, the 8-year-old's school.
"I'm not saying goodbye to Leila. I'm saying see you later," Leila's oldest brother Justin Folwer said.
"I want to thank the community for support you've given our, my family," Leila's mom said to the crowd.
Kalea Rigara, 8, of Stockton, said she was Leila's best friend.
"Her smile, her personality - she was beautiful," Rigara said. "I love her."
Law enforcement continues to comb the area. Sgt. Chris Hewitt said deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and county probation officers have contacted and searched for nearly all known registered sex offenders and parolees in the area.
Fowler's brother vaguely described the intruder as white or Hispanic. He may have long, gray hair and a large frame. The Calaveras County Sheriff's department reiterated that they have no named suspect yet. They also don't know the motive behind Leila's murder.
People at the vigil are hoping for justice.
"She was sweet. I don't think she deserves what happened to her," student Eve Stockdale said. "I don't think her brothers or sisters deserve it either."
"It hits home. I think that's why everybody is here," resident Leslie Stonefield said.
A memorial account was set up to help pay for funeral costs. Donations can be made to:
18836 E. Main St.
Linden, CA 95236
Account number 421934101