VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. - People in this quiet Northern California community expressed relief that there had been an arrest in the stabbing death of an 8-year-old girl, but they were stunned by the suspect: her 12-year-old brother.
"It's just shocking. I don't know what else to say," Patti Campbell, longtime restaurant owner in the town of Valley Springs, told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Last month's stabbing death of Leila Fowler shook this small community southeast of Sacramento and set off an intense manhunt. Her brother was in the home at the time and told police he saw a man run from the scene.
Days later, the boy appeared with his father and stepmother at a vigil for his sister. On Friday, as speculation in the community built that perhaps the boy was involved, his biological mother told Sacramento television station KOVR her son "could never hurt his sister."
Later that day, police announced that the boy had been arrested and faced homicide charges.
Aaron Plunk, a neighbor of the family, said the arrest was staggering but he could rest easier now. He said he and his family had been extra vigilant about locking windows and doors, even though the street was being closely guarded throughout the manhunt by deputies who demanded IDs of residents to pass.
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