Brother, 12, arrested in sister's death
02:03 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Leila Fowler was stabbed to death in April

Her 12-year-old brother was arrested Saturday

The boy told police there had been an intruder in their home

CNN  — 

With one child dead and the second arrested in her death, a California woman pleaded for a bit of privacy on Mother’s Day.

Crystal Walters posted a brief message on Facebook on Sunday, the day after sheriff’s investigators in Calaveras County announced the arrest of her 12-year-old stepson on a homicide charge in the death of her 8-year-old stepdaughter, Leila Fowler.

“I don’t have much to say but thank you to those who are standing by us in this devastating time for our family,” Walters said in a brief post on Facebook. “And thank you for respecting our privacy during this time. We need a little space. Happy mothers day to all.”

Leila Fowler was stabbed April 27 in the family’s northern California home. The 12-year-old boy told police he’d seen an intruder leaving the home. But Saturday, police announced the boy had been arrested.

“Citizens of Calaveras County can sleep a little better tonight,” Sheriff Gary Kuntz said.

The death of young Leila, known for her bubbly personality, shook the small town of Valley Springs, where purple ribbons, in Leila’s favorite color, were tied to stop signs.

After the killing, police offered a sketchy description of the suspect as a 6-foot-tall white or Hispanic male with a muscular build. They also interviewed registered sex offenders in the area, ran down leads and searched in attics, storage sheds and more in the rural, mountainous community located about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento.

Kuntz said law enforcement officers “put over 2000 hours into this investigation to provide Leila Fowler’s family with answers in her death.”

Hundreds flock to vigil for slain girl

He declined to answer questions after Saturday evening’s announcement and didn’t specify the exact charges against the brother, where he is being held or when he will appear in court.