(CBS/AP)PLACERVILLE, Calif. - Investigators in Northern California are looking for a possible link between a man accused of breaking into an apartment and trying to kidnap a toddler and the killing of an 8-year-old girl in Calaveras County.
Officials said Leila Fowler, 8, was stabbed to death in her Valley Springs home Saturday. The girl was found by her older brother who told deputies that he had encountered a male intruder in the home. The small, rural community remained on lockdown Tuesday as authorities searched for the suspect.
Also Tuesday, about 45 miles away, police were summoned to an apartment at around 8 a.m. after Jason Wryrynen, 44, allegedly tried to take a 15-month-old girl from her mother, The Sacramento Bee reported.
The mother was able to wrestle her daughter away and struggled with Wryrynen until officers arrived.
While stressing there is "no confirmed nexus" between the two crimes, Placerville police Capt. Mike Scott said there are some similarities between Wryrynen and the description of the suspect in the killing of Leila Fowler.
Placerville officers were talking to Calaveras County investigators, and a DNA sample was collected from Wryrynen. Calaveras County officials have been collecting evidence but so far have no suspects in Fowler's killing.
There was "no sign of a burglary or robbery and no sign of this being a targeted killing," Sgt. Chris Hewitt, a sheriff's spokesman, said Tuesday.
Authorities said a witness saw a person running from the Fowlers' home and provided a description similar to the one by the girl's brother. The suspect was described as white or Hispanic, about 6 feet tall with a muscular build and long gray hair.
On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people gathered at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs where Leila's mother, Krystal Walters, tearfully addressed the crowd.
"I just want to thank the entire community and all of our family and friends for all the overwhelming amount of support you've given our family," Walters said. "It will never be forgotten. Thank you."