VALLEY SPRINGS, CA-- Authorities have identified the parents of the 8-year-old girl who was killed in her rural Northern California home Saturday.
In a hastily called news conference Monday night, Calaveras County sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo identified the father of Leila Fowler as Barney Fowler and the mother as Krystal Walters.
The names of the parents had not been previously released.
"The cause of death was listed by the medical examiner as shock and hemorrhage due to stabbing," said Calaveras County Sheriff's spokesman Sergeant Chris Hewitt.
As Macedo spoke, Fowler and Walters stood in the background and declined to speak. Macedo said Leila's parents wanted to convey their requests that their privacy be respected, but also that a memorial fund had been set up for their daughter. A vigil is also planned for Tuesday night at Jenny Lind Elementary, where Leila went to school.
A family friend said Walters' has been struggling to come to grips with her daughter's violent death.
"A lot of pain, a lot of anger, a lot of 'why,' confusion," said Amanda Pekarek, who added her own daughter was like an older sister to Leila.
Investigators have been making contact with sex offenders and parolees in the area who might have information on the case.
"And in many cases, searching all known registered sex offenders and parolees in the area where this crime took place," said Hewitt.
Macedo said no detailed information on a possible suspect has been released because there are too many discrepancies in the three descriptions provided so far, including that of the family's 12-year old son who said he saw the intruder leaving the family home and then found his sister after she had been stabbed multiple times.
"Try and put yourself in his shoes. He's 12 years old and he's the one who found her," said Pekarek.
"There was a second witness that lived in the neighborhood that saw somebody with a similar description running in a different direction at that time," Macedo said. But he added that another witness who may have seen the suspect in the neighborhood a few days before gave a somewhat different description.
The man has been described only as a white or male hispanic about 6-feet tall and with a large frame.