PLACERVILLE (AP) — Investigators were trying Wednesday to determine if there's a link between a brazen kidnapping attempt involving a 15-month-old California girl and the killing of an 8-year-old girl in her home — though they acknowledged the likelihood is slim.
Investigators in Placerville said Wednesday they have collected DNA samples from a man who forced his way into a woman's apartment on Tuesday and attempted to snatch her daughter.
"It's an absolute shot in the dark, but stranger things have happened," said Placerville police Capt. Mike Scott. "The cases are similar in that an unknown intruder enters a residence with an intent to harm a child."
On Saturday, Leila Fowler was stabbed to death in her home in the Calaveras County town of Valley Springs, about 50 miles from the site of the attempted kidnapping. Investigators say her 12-year-old brother saw the assailant and described him as being about 6 feet tall with long gray hair.
A photo of the kidnapping suspect, Jason Wryrynen, 44, shows jaw-length hair that appears to be light brown. He was being held in El Dorado County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.
It could not be immediately determined if he has a lawyer.
"Placerville's suspect description does not match the description of our suspect," said Sgt. Chris Hewitt, a spokesman for the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office.
So far the boy has not been shown a photo lineup.
The killing investigation is ramping up in intensity, and investigators planned to meet Wednesday with FBI agents.
"We just want to see what assistance they can provide us. What it will be I don't know," Hewitt said.
The state Department of Justice crime lab has made the processing of evidence in the case its top priority. Meanwhile, the sheriff's office has cancelled all vacations and days off, and investigators are working more than 16-hour days tracking down hundreds of tips that have come into a hotline, Hewitt said.
The attack on Leila, a popular 3rd grader at Jenny Lind Elementary School, apparently was random. The family's home is on a rural street with houses sitting on about an acre apiece.
There were no signs of a burglary or robbery and no indication it was a targeted killing, Hewitt said.
On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people gathered at the school, 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."