(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — In the 911 call from the day 8-year-old Leila Fowler was stabbed to death, her father’s girlfriend, who was not home, didn’t appear to know that Leila has been hurt. She told the operator that Leila was “freaking out” after her brother said he had allegedly seen an intruder in the house.
The brother has since been arrested and charged with second-degree murder with special circumstances for using a dangerous weapon in the killing. He is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday, though his name has not been released because he is a minor.
On April 27, Leila’s 12-year-old brother told Valley Springs, Calif., authorities that he found his sister stabbed to death after an intruder broke into their home. There were no adults at the house when the stabbing occurred. The boy said he called his parents, who alerted sheriff’s deputies.
“My children are at home alone and a man just ran out of my house. My older son was in the bathroom and my daughter started screaming,” the panicked woman said in the 911 call released by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. “When he came out, there was a man outside my house. I need an officer there.”
The woman calling was Leila’s father’s girlfriend, according to ABC News’ Sacramento affiliate KXTV.
When the dispatcher asked if the children had seen the intruder, the woman said, “They did see him. My daughter is freaking out right now.”
She also said the children were “really scared” and that she was trying to get home.
The boy told authorities the intruder, whom he described as a tall man with a muscular build, fled the scene. The boy’s description launched a 15-day manhunt that included door-to-door searches and divers in a reservoir.
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office in Northern California announced the arrest of the 12-year-old boy on May 10.
Mark Reichel and Steve Plesser, attorneys from a firm hired by the boy’s family to represent him, told KXTV that they met with him Wednesday at a juvenile detention facility.
“He’s actually doing very well right now,” Plesser said. “As well as can be expected in these really difficult times.”
The two attorneys said they plan to ask the court to allow the boy to return to his family.
Neighbors in Valley Springs said they feared all along that Leila’s brother — not a mystery man the boy described — might be responsible for the girl’s stabbing death.
“It made us sadder, because he’s just 12 years old,” Barbara Barron told ABC News. “The family has lost two children now.”
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