Leila Fowler Murder Investigation Timeline

By Kyle Buis

VALLEY SPRINGS (CBS13) — The brother of 8-year-old Leila Fowler pleaded not guilty in her stabbing death on Wednesday. Isaiah Fowler, 12, faces a second-degree murder charge with a special allegation for use of a dangerous weapon.

His next court date is scheduled for July 31.

Here is a timeline of events leading from her April 27 death to now.

THE CRIME

APRIL 27: Killed 8-Year-Old Calaveras County Girl Identified
Calaveras County investigators started the search for a suspect described as a tall, white or Hispanic male with long gray hair. That description was based on Leila Fowler’s brother’s description and a woman who said she saw the man running out of the building.

APRIL 29: Police: Leila Fowler’s Murder Was Deliberate
Calaveras County investigators say Leila Fowler’s death does not appear to have stemmed from a botched robbery, but appears to have been a deliberate targeted action. They added the vague description of the suspect was all that they had and no leads on who the mystery man was.

APRIL 30: Candlelight Vigil Offers Leila Fowler’s Mother A Chance To Speak
The family holds a candlelight vigil remembering the slain girl.

THE WORRY

MAY 1: Police Downplay Placerville Kidnapping Link To Valley Springs Girl’s Death
MAY 3: Yuba City Police On Lookout After Two Attempted Abductions
With a description of a mysterious murderer that nobody has been able to locate, fears arise that some crimes could share a perpetrator. One of the three cases involved a Placerville mom who had her child snatched from her arms in her own apartment. In Yuba City, two teenagers were approached separately by a suspect with similar descriptions.

A COMMUNITY IN FEAR

MAY 1: Investigators Analyzing Knives, Searching For Clues In Leila Fowler Murder
Investigators look into knives that could have been used in the crime. While they continued to question witnesses and gather information, there is still no word on a possible suspect.

MAY 2: Police: Witness in Leila Fowler Murder ‘No Longer Credible’
A major blow is dealt to the investigation of Leila Fowler’s death when the Calaveras County Deputy Sgt. Chris Hewitt says the only witness other than Isaiah Fowler has stopped cooperating with the investigation and investigators say her testimony is ‘no longer credible.’

MAY 4: Officials Canvassing In Search For Leila Fowler’s Killer
A week after the horrific death of Leila Fowler, her neighbors try to come to terms with her death while wondering why a suspect hadn’t been captured at the moment. With the recent recanting of a witness in the case, deputies said they were left without solid leads.


MAY 5: Retired FBI Profiler Believes Killer Knew Leila Fowler
CBS13 speaks with a former FBI profiler, Candice Delong who says the killing likely wasn’t random.

“Did someone come from far across town, stop their car and randomly go into a house and kill that young girl? Probably not,” she said.

MAY 7: Family, Friends Say Goodbye To Leila Fowler As Neighbors Seek Security
A funeral for Leila Fowler is held with overflowing support and attendance from the community. The family asks media to give them distance and not record the event.

Meanwhile, investigators continue their search around a pond. Concerned neighbors invest in security systems to protect them from a crime like the one that took Leila Fowler’s life.

MAY 10: Leila Fowler’s Mom Says Not Finding Killer Makes Her Loss Worse
In a CBS13 exclusive, Leila and Isaiah Fowler’s mother shares her grief two days before Mother’s Day. During the interview, Priscilla Rodriquez mentions how much Isaiah is struggling in the weeks following his sister’s death.

“I know he needs his mommy, just like I need him,” she said.

THE ARREST

MAY 11: Sheriff: Leila Fowler’s Brother Arrested For Murder
A day after our interview aired, Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz announced the arrest of 12-year-old Isaiah Fowler in his sister’s stabbing death.

THE REACTION

MAY 12: Residents Feel ‘Betrayed’ Following Arrest Of Leila Fowler’s Brother
After two weeks on edge, Calaveras County residents were shocked to find out Leila Fowler’s brother was arrested in her stabbing death. While they were relieved to know a suspect was in custody, they also felt betrayed—feeling the support they gave the family searching for an unknown killer was wasted since the alleged killer was right under their noses the whole time.

MAY 13: Shocked Students Return To School Following Arrest Of Leila Fowler’s Brother
Toyon Middle School students returned to class for the first time since the shocking news of Isaiah Fowler’s weekend arrest. Counselors were available to students dealing with the news.

LEADUP TO THE TRIAL

MAY 13: Defense Attorney Advises Leila Fowler’s Family To Find Legal Counsel
Defense attorney Mark Reichel strongly advises the family gets a lawyer during an interview with CBS13’s Ron Jones. Around the time the interview aired, the family retained his services as legal counsel.

MAY 13: Child Therapist Believes Leila Fowler Killing Was Not Premeditated
During a CBS13 interview, child therapist Leslie Whitten Baughman says the alleged attack on Leila Fowler by her brother was likely not a premeditated action.

MAY 14: Leila Fowler 911 Tapes Released As Brother Charged With Second-Degree Murder
911 calls from Leila Fowler’s mother are released on the same day Isaiah Fowler is charged with second-degree murder. The lesser charge likely means investigators don’t believe the 12-year-old planned to kill his sister.

MAY 29: Leila Fowler’s Brother Pleads Not Guilty in Her Stabbing
Two weeks after he was charged, Isaiah Fowler only said one word during his appearance and entered a plea of not guilty. His next court date is scheduled for July 31 to set a trial date.

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