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Witness discredited in 8-year-old girl's murder case | Crime

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Witness discredited in 8-year-old girl's murder case
Crime

VALLEY SPRINGS, CA - The second witness in the investigation into the murder of an 8-year-old girl was deemed not credible by Calaveras County sheriff's detectives.

Leila Fowler was found stabbed in her family's Rippon Road home by her 12-year-old brother Saturday afternoon. The brother told deputies he called his parents after someone broke into the home. His parents called 911. The boy said after he called his parents he ran into another room where he found his sister Leila with severe injuries.

Leila was taken to a nearby hospital where she later died, the sheriff's department said. Her brother was not injured.

The boy vaguely described the intruder as white or Hispanic and said that he may have long, gray hair and a large frame. A second witness came forward and collaborated the brother's description on two separate occasions.

However, in later interviews, the witness said she saw the intruder running in the opposite direction from what the brother told investigators.

The sheriff's department said the second witness eventually retracted her statements and refused to provide a description of the suspect to the sketch artist.

"The witness's description of the intruder was an important lead for investigators, but as of now it has become clear that this witness is no longer credible," the sheriff's department said in a statement. "Though this may seem like a setback in the investigation, it is actually a positive result in that it allows the investigators to narrow the scope of their investigation."

Detectives are working with Placerville police after officers arrested a man who tried to kidnap a child from a home to see if the man may be connected to Leila Folwer's murder. After interviews, detectives said it was unlikely the man is connected to Fowler's death. However, DNA collected from the suspect will still be sent to a crime lab as part of standard procedure.

The sheriff's department said the FBI is also helping in the investigation.

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