Barney Fowler, the father of a 12-year-old boy accused of killing his sister earlier this year, said Monday that he was the first person who arrived at the family's Valley Springs home the day his daughter, Leila Fowler, was killed, and that he denies that his young son could be the killer.
"I saw (my son's) demeanor. I saw the two weeks after that. I don't think he did it," Fowler told sister station, KCRA 3. The boy has since pleaded not guilty to fatally stabbing his sister. He had originally told investigators that he found his sister's body inside their Valley Springs home in San Joaquin County on April 27.
Fowler, wearing sunglasses, sat next to his fiancee, Crystal Walters, and his oldest son, Justin, for an exclusive interview Monday with reporter Mike TeSelle, breaking his public silence.
"I went in and carried my daughter's body out and was gonna take her to the hospital because I felt she was still alive," Fowler told the station.
Fowler, fighting back tears, did not want to discuss the moment he discovered his 8-year-old daughter after a report that an intruder attacked her. But he and his fiancee also talked about the community's reaction after his son was arrested.
"The sad thing is a lot of people who were great and kind to us kind of turned their backs on us," said Fowler.
Walters even shared stories about how people have taken pictures of her 4-year-old son crying at a T-Ball game, and of the family eating lunch in public.
"They stare at us and record us while we're eating at Burger King. And then it hits social media and it's 'Oh my god, the Fowlers' were at Burger King and they were smiling,'" Walters said.