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New Reward in Rolling Hills Mall Murder Mystery

Los Angeles County has offered a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the person who a year ago stabbed a retired nurse to death in the parking garage of a shopping mall in Rolling Hills Estates.

Susan Leeds, 66, was attacked as she sat in the driver’s seat of her SUV at the Promenade on the Peninsula shopping center on May 3, 2018.

Detectives said it initially appeared to be a robbery “gone wrong.”

The reward offer was made Tuesday by Supervisor Janice Hahn, who said in a statement the reward might prompt reluctant witnesses to come forward and provide information to identify the individual(s) responsible for the crime.

“Susan’s family and the entire peninsula community deserve answers,” Hahn said, adding that security video from the garage showed that several people walked and drove by the murder scene. “Any one of these passers-by may have seen something. Any information that they may have may be helpful in solving this murder,” Hahn said.

About two weeks after Leeds’ death the LA County Sheriff’s Department arrested a woman and publicly accused her of the killing, but prosecutors declined to file a murder charge and the woman was released.

Cherie Townsend told NBC4’s I-Team she had nothing to do with the killing, and it was only by coincidence that she was inside the parking garage around the time Leeds’ body was discovered.

“I was arrested for a murder I didn’t commit,” she said last September. “It’s important for my story to be out, because I was wrongly accused.”

Townsend has sued the Sheriff’s Department for what she says was a false arrest and for the return of property seized by investigators. The Sheriff’s Department has said as recently as January it still considered Townsend a suspect.

“This has proved to be a very complex, yet active investigation,” the Department said in a statement. “With the lack of eyewitnesses in this case, the physical and forensic evidence collected is being continually re-evaluated.”

The Sheriff’s Department has not yet responded to requests for information about the new reward.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Source: NBC Los Angeles

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