VALLEY SPRINGS, Calaveras County (CBS/AP) — A region of oak-studded hills in California, where big-city dwellers come to get away from crime, was on lockdown Monday, two days after a mysterious intruder stabbed an 8-year-old girl to death at home before being spotted by her 12-year-old brother.
With the suspect still on the loose, some of the kids in this enclave nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills were hunkering down after school at James Barci’s ranch.
“Nobody is staying alone,” said Barci, a truck driver and parent volunteer at Jenny Lind Elementary School, where victim Leila Fowler was a popular third-grader. “I told my work I’m not coming in, and I’m just going to have all of my kids’ friends at the house until this is over.”
The apparently random attack has the tightknit community on edge. Parents such as Barci spontaneously showed up Monday at the school of 500 students to give hugs or tie purple and pink ribbons—Leila’s favorite colors—to trees on campus.
Later Monday, authorities identified the girl’s parents while also saying a witness saw a person running from the family home that had a similar description of a man who fled from the home when the girl’s brother confronted him.
In a hastily called news conference, 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 hadn’t previously been released.