Calif. Town Says Goodbye to 8-Year-Old Girl Stabbed to Death

Placerville police say woman overpowered an intruder who snatched away her baby, now Calaveras investigators look for a connection in death of 8-year old

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More people attended tonight's memorial than live in the town of Valley Springs. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Saturday, May 11, 2013)

    "I am not going to say goodbye to my sister , only see you later. Up in heaven, make it good for my sister."

    Those were the words of Leila Fowler's older brother at the Valley Springs vigil for his 8-year-old sister,  who was was stabbed to death inside her home on Saturday. Her killer is still on the loose.

    Parents of Girl Stabbed to Death in Rural Calif. Town Grieving

    [BAY] Parents of Girl Stabbed to Death in Rural Calif. Town Grieving
    With the dead girl's mother so overwhelmed by emotion she was unable to speak on Monday night, Calaveras County sheriff's investigators were questioning sex offenders and parolees anywhere near the area where 8-year-old Leila Fowler was stabbed to death on Saturday. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013)

    More people turned out for Tuesday night's vigil than live in Valley Springs, a town of about 3,000

    People were there, many dressed in pink and purple, Leila's favorite colors. They made certain that when it started getting dark it started getting lighter, as they raised candles in her memory.

    Those who did not know Leila,  got to know her a little bit at the tragic event.

    Her teacher, Pam Smylie, said: "She was respectful, very good at math and a good writer. Truth be told , a little chatty."

    It was the only comment of the night that elicited a chuckle from the crowd.

    Leila's father, her brother who found Leila fatally wounded, and the extended family were surrounded by supporters .

    There were words from Leila's mother, Krystal Walters, as she unsuccessfully tried to battle back her tears.

    "I just want to thank the entire community," she said. "I will never forget this.  Thank you."

    And afterwards, Danny Vergala, who lives across the street from the Fowler family, talked about his family's loss, as he held his sobbing daughter, Kairea, close by his side.

    "This was my daughter's best friend," he said. "She lost her best friend. They slept together, we went for ice cream together, they always played together. It's a huge loss for us. (It's as if)I've lost another daughter."

    The Calaveras County Sheriff's department is  asking everyone in the greater Valley Springs area to lock their doors and windows until the killer is caught .

    Earlier in the day, officials confirmed to NBC Bay Area they are investigating whether a man arrested in Placerville Jason Wryrynen, who is accused of trying to kidnap a baby, has any connection to the killing of an 8-year-old girl over the weekend.

    The Placerville crime involving a 15-month-old happened early Tuesday morning.

    In that case, a mother was able to wrestle her daughter away from the suspect and struggled with a man identified as Wryrynen until officers arrived, the Sacramento Bee reported.

    Placerville officers were talking to Calaveras County investigators, and a DNA sample was collected from Wryrynen, officials said.

    The description of the Valley Springs suspect is vague: white or Hispanic, muscular build, long gray hair, maybe 6 feet.

    The suspect is the subject of a broad manhunt by the sheriff's departments of Calaveras and surrounding counties, the California Highway Patrol and the state Department of Justice. Sheriff's officials say investigators collected fingerprints and what they believe is DNA from the home on Sunday.