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updated: 5/1/2013 9:56 AM

Police check possible link to Calif. girl's death

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Associated Press

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 about 45 miles away in Calaveras County.

Police were summoned to the apartment at around 8 a.m. Tuesday after Jason Wryrynen, 44, 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.

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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 in Valley Springs on Saturday.

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 Leila's killing. She was attacked in her home around noon Saturday. Her 12-year-old brother was home at the time. Authorities have said he encountered the attacker, who then ran away.

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 Leila's home and provided a description similar to the one by Leila'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."

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