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'Shot in the dark': Is alleged Calif. kidnapper tied to 8-year-old's murder?

More than 1,000 people attended a vigil for 8-year-old murder victim Leila Fowler who was found stabbed to death in her California home. KCRA's Mallory Hoff reports.

El Dorado County Sheriff's Office

Jason Wayrynen, 42, was arrested on Tuesday morning.

A man arrested for an alleged kidnapping 50 miles north of and three days after the fatal stabbing of an 8-year-old is being investigated in the girl's murder, but officials concede the link between the cases is a "shot in the dark."

Jason Wayrynen, 42, was arrested Tuesday in Placerville, Calif., the morning after a vigil was held Leila Fowler, a Valley Springs, Calif., third-grader who was stabbed by an intruder in her home on Saturday afternoon while she was at home with just her older brother.

Leila's murder, which happened while her parents were at a Little League game, has left parents in her small community terrified to leave their kids' sides while officials hunt down the killer. The circumstances surrounding Wayrynen's arrest on Tuesday bore enough similarities to Leila's case to prompt authorities to take a DNA sample from him and compare it to DNA recovered from the Valley Springs crime scene.

In Tuesday's alleged kidnapping, a mother told police she and her 15-month-old girl were followed into their Placerville apartment by Warynen, who they didn't know. Once inside the apartment, Wayrynen allegedly tried to kidnap the girl, the mother told police, while another woman in the apartment ran into the bedroom, locked the door, and called police.


Wayrynen was arrested and is being held on $250,000 bail.

"It's truly a shot in the dark," said Placerville Police Captain Mike Scott. "There's some similarities in the suspect's description ... and that an unknown intruder enters the residence with the intent to harm a child."

The suspect in Leila's murder is believed to be about six feet tall, and either white or Hispanic, with a muscular build, according to authorities.  Wayrynen, of Camino, Calif., next to Placerville, is 6'1'' and 200 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Calaveras County Sgt. Christ. Hewitt said DNA and fingerprints were collected from the scene of Leila's murder, and said he hopes the results of Wayrynen's DNA sample will come back "within a week or two."

"Right now, it seems to be very unlikely that they're connected, but of course, we have to take measures to either rule out that person or see if in fact they're involved. It's just standard investigative practice," Hewitt said.

The case still has no leads, Hewitt said.

"We do not know the motive. We don't know if it was intentional, if it was random. We do not know yet," he said.

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