Valley Springs mourns murder of 8-year-old girl; search continues for killer

April 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Under heavy law enforcement presence, it was an emotional first day back to school at Jenny Lind Elementary in Valley Springs. Parents, classmates and teachers are dealing with the murder of 8-year-old Leila Fowler, who apparently was stabbed to death in her home by an intruder.

Ribbons were tied around the campus, and students wrote their own messages of goodbye to the little girl known for her big smile.

"A lot of people are hurting right now. But the beauty of being here together is that they're able to share and communicate and try to heal as much as possible," said Calaveras Unified Superintendent Mark Campbell.

With the killer still on the loose, deputies are following up on every lead. Authorities say there is no arrest or even a motive.

The girl's death has shaken the normally quiet rural California community, where everyone knows each other and residents don't lock their doors -- until now.

"I make sure I lock my doors and lock my windows and everything like that, which I never really had to do," said Carmen Trammel of Valley Springs.

Fowler's murder has changed the seemingly innocent town forever. The school is trying to help the community get past this tragedy, with counselors and therapy dogs on hand.

The suspect was only described as a muscular white or Latino man.


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