Hundreds flock to vigil for slain California girl

Photo provided by Fowler family
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 8:00am

Leila Fowler's oldest brother says he isn't ready to say goodbye.

"I'm not saying goodbye to Leila. I'm saying 'See you later.' There are no goodbyes," Justin Fowler said Tuesday night.

Justin was part of a crowd of hundreds who gathered to remember Leila at an emotional candlelight vigil for the slain Northern California girl.

The 8-year-old girl known for her bubbly personality was stabbed to death at her home over the weekend.

Her 12-year-old brother said he saw an intruder in the family's home before finding his sister suffering from stab wounds.

Police have scoured the Valley Springs town searching for a suspect, armed only with a sketchy description.

And many in the small town, about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento, are on edge or in mourning.

Krystal Walters, Leila's mother, made a short statement at the vigil before bursting into tears.

"I just want to thank the entire community, our family and friends for the overwhelming amount of support you've given my family. It will never be forgotten," she said.

Police say Leila and her brother were home alone Saturday when he saw an intruder leaving the house.

He then found his sister stabbed and severely wounded. She died minutes after arriving at the hospital, authorities said.

Investigators this week have interviewed registered sex offenders and others in the area in the search.

But a suspect has not been named.

"This is a sad time," Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz said earlier this week. "We will not rest until we capture the responsible person."

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CNN's Stephanie Elam reported from Valley Springs, California. CNN's Lateef Mungin reported and wrote from Atlanta.
 

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