(Reuters) - Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 12-year-old boy on Saturday in the stabbing death of his 8-year-old sister, a killing that triggered a huge manhunt last month for an intruder the boy said broke into their Northern California home.
Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz told reporters the boy was taken into custody on a charge of homicide.
He was arrested in Valley Springs, the community where Leila Fowler was slain on April 27, when the children were home alone, Kuntz said.
“The citizens of Calaveras County can sleep a little better tonight,” Kuntz said.
The sheriff declined to say what led detectives to arrest the boy, whose name was not released. Authorities previously said fingerprints and DNA evidence were collected from the home where Fowler was stabbed to death.
Authorities have said Leila’s brother initially told investigators the two siblings were in their family home in the Sierra foothills, about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento, when he heard an intruder, saw a man in the living room who fled on foot, went to check on his sister and found her wounded.
The boy called 911 and his parents, who authorities said were at a Little League baseball game.
His sister was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead six minutes later.
A neighbor initially told investigators she saw a man running away from the Fowler home shortly after the death.
But on May 3, Calaveras County sheriff’s spokesman Chris Hewitt said the neighbor recanted her story and refused to describe the possible suspect to a composite-sketch artist.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Peter Cooney