LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff is saying he is confident in his department’s investigation into a South Bay murder, even after the prime suspect was released from jail pending further evidence in the case.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell fielded questions Wednesday about the murder of Susan Leeds, a mother of two who was found stabbed with her throat slashed earlier this month in Rolling Hills Estates. He said suspect Cherie Townsend is still under investigation despite her release from jail Tuesday.
“It’s a case where, like so many cases, you make an arrest to be able to gather additional information, statements, evidence, and then you will continue to work it,” McDonnell told CBS2 News.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Monday announced Townsend, the second person arrested in connection with Leeds’ murder, was being released while they asked the LASD to collect more evidence.
On May 3, Leeds’s lifeless body was found in the parking structure of the Promenade on the Peninsula shopping mall in Rolling Hills Estates.
On Friday, McDonnell announced at a press conference that Townshend, 39, was arrested and was being held on $1 million bail. Her car had been seen parked near the scene of the killing.
Townsend was seen exiting a woman’s detention facility in Lynwood Tuesday as she covered her head with a blanket. Police said they were not releasing a photo of Townsend in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
Asked if the announcement had been a mistake, McDonnell said, “No, I thought it was what we needed to do to be able to let the community know where we were on the case. There was a lot of interest in that case, certainly, and a lot of anxiety, and to the degree that we were able to provide some closure, some comfort to that community, we wanted to do that.”
The LASD said Townsend was the only suspect at the moment but said it was not ruling out the involvement of a second person.