Elementary School Principal Arrested In Husband's Murder Released
A Bakersfield elementary school principal is accused of murdering her husband of nearly 20 years by shooting him multiple times, then dumping his body. Leslie Janea Chance, 46, was scheduled to be arraigned today on first-degree murder charges, ABC 7 reports.
However, Bakersfield Now reports that although police believe she is guilty of the August 26 killing of her husband, Todd Chance, she has been released and the case is under "further investigation." At this point, they don't have a motive.
"We're confident that she's the person responsible for shooting him," Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said on Friday. He said investigators had witnesses, and other evidence, including the gun.
Chance has been a principal at Fairview Elementary School for three years and was an assistant principal for four years before that, according to the Bakersfield Californian.
Farm workers discovered the body in an almond orchard, and the victim's Ford Mustang was found abandoned at an intersection 20 miles away. Police believe Todd Chance was shot in the car, but they're still trying to figure out exactly where the shooting took place.
Friends and co-workers of Chance's are having a hard time believing she's capable of such a crime.
Lisa Ramos says she worked closely with Chance for the parent teacher organization at Fairview Elementary and told ABC 7, "I didn't believe it. She's really quiet. Usually you see some kind of character in someone, and she just doesn't fit that bill at all."
She said that the Chances' relationship seemed solid. "They seemed to get along good," said Ramos. "He was always in a good mood. She was in a good mood. They communicated well together."
The Chances have two children, and Todd helped raise Leslie's 23-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
Greenfield Union School District Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Kenneth R. Chichester told the Bakersfield Californian that the Fairview Elementary staff were shocked by the news. Many believed the sheriff's office had arrested the wrong person or made some mistake.
"People are innocent until proven guilty and we're going to let the justice system takes its course," Chichester said. He described Chance as knowledgeable, a hard worker, well-respected and quiet. He said he spoke with her briefly by phone Monday morning after hearing of her husband's death and described her as subdued and seemingly "in a daze."
The funeral for Todd Chance will be held Wednesday in Bakersfield.