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crowd at the candlelight vigil for Leila Fowler.
of kindness urged as Leila remembered
The Valley Springs community shocked by the murder of 8-year-old
Leila Fowler gathered Tuesday evening to share their grief and find some
comfort at a candlelight vigil at Jenny Lind Elementary School.
More than 1,000 people, many dressed in the child’s favorite
colors of pink and purple, covered the school’s quad area.
Fowler was a third-grade student at the school and Pam Smylie,
her teacher, described the child as a smart and bright student who was a
very good writer, who would listen to her teacher and always try to do
“Leila will never be forgotten,” Smylie said, fighting back
her tears. “She’ll be cherished in my heart forever.”
Family members spoke for the first time in public about the loss
“I’m not saying goodbye to Leila,” Justin Fowler, the
oldest family sibling said as he raised his candle to the sky. “I’ll
just see you later – there’s no goodbyes.”
“I just want to thank the entire community and all our family
and friends for the overwhelming amount of support you’ve given my
family,” said Leila’ mother Crystal Walters. “It will never be
forgotten. Thank you.”
Area ministers offered prayers, their support and counseling to
the family and the community through these difficult days that began
with Saturday’s stabbing death of Leila Fowler at her home on Rippon
Street in the Rancho Calaveras subdivision.
“Honor her by continuing to show kindness,” said Jenny Lind
Principal Amy Hasselwander said as the ceremony closed.
Prior to the ceremony, the crowd attached purple ribbons to the
fence along State Route 26 filling in a message saying, “WE (heart)
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