PLACERVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Police were trying to determine if there’s a link between a man accused of breaking into an apartment in Placerville and trying to kidnap a toddler, and the killing of an 8-year-old girl about 45 miles away in Calaveras County, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Police arrested Jason Wryrynen, 44, after getting a call around 8 a.m. Tuesday that he had entered the apartment and tried to take a 15-month-old girl from her mother, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Wryrynen tried to take the girl by force, but the mother was able to wrestle her daughter away and struggled with Wryrynen until officers arrived, according to a report in The Bee.
“We have no confirmed nexus to the Calaveras County case,” Placerville police Capt. Mike Scott told the newspaper. But there were some similarities between Wryrynen and the description of the suspect in the killing of Leila Fowler in Valley Springs on Saturday, Scott said.
Placerville officers were talking to Calaveras County investigators, and a DNA sample was collected from Wryrynen, officials said.
Calaveras County officials have said it appears the unknown intruder in the slaying of Leila in her home did not stem from an attempted robbery or other crime.
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,” said Sgt. Chris Hewitt, a sheriff’s spokesman.
Authorities said a witness saw a person running from the family home with a description similar to the one provided by Leila’s brother.
The sheriff’s office has released little information about the killing other than a vague description of a suspect with long gray hair.
Meanwhile, a crowd estimated to be in the hundreds gathered at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs Tuesday evening, 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.”