Suspect arrested in stabbing death of woman in Rolling Hills Estates

- A suspect is in custody in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 66-year-old woman inside a mall parking structure in Rolling Hills Estates.

 Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell says a 39-year-old woman has been arrested in the fatal stabbing of Susan Leeds, whose body was found in her SUV inside a mall parking structure in Rolling Hills Estates on May 3.

Cherie Townsend was arrested on Thursday in Victorville, and the motive for the crime was believed to be robbery, McDonnell says. 

Susan Leeds of Rancho Palos Verdes was attacked shortly after 12:20 p.m. May 3 at the Promenade on the Peninsula in the 500 block of Deep Valley Drive. Leeds was found inside her SUV parked inside the Promenade's parking garage with her throat cut and several stab wounds to the chest.

Sheriff's officials did not immediately provide any details of her suspected killer's arrest or name.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell held a news conference for 8 a.m. Friday to discuss the arrest. Leeds' relatives attended the news conference in downtown Los Angeles.

A man was detained a day after Leeds was killed and was called a person of interest in the case. He was ultimately ruled out as a suspect in the killing, although he was arrested for an unrelated offense.

"Based on surveillance video and current known evidence, the male is no longer being considered a person of interest, unless additional information or evidence comes to light,'' sheriff's officials said last week.

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