Teacher Cecilia Richardson helps a student tie a ribbon honoring murder victim, first grader Lelia Fowler, at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs, Calif., Monday April 29, 2013. Authorities are searching for the killer of Fowler, 8, who was found murdered by her 12-year-old brother in the family's Valley Springs home Saturday.
The mother of an 8-year-old girl who was found stabbed to death in her Northern California home and of the 12-year-old boy accused of killing her says the boy is "protective of his sister."
In an interview with Sacramento television station KOVR on Friday, Priscilla Rodriquez said her son "could never hurt his sister."
Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz said Saturday that the boy would be charged with homicide.
His arrest comes after Leila Fowler was attacked April 27 in the Valley Springs home where she and her brother lived with their dad.
The boy had told police that he found his sister's body and encountered an intruder in the home while their parents were at a Little League game.
The crime raised fears in the tightknit community of about 7,400 people and set off a massive manhunt.