Authorities are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the 2018 stabbing death of a retired nurse in Rolling Hills Estates, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors announced Tuesday.
The victim, Susan Leeds, 66, was killed in May last year in the Peninsula Shopping Center’s parking structure on 550 Deep Valley Drive.
Her body was found in her Mercedes-Benz SUV. Her throat was slit and she had multiple stab wounds on her upper torso, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Calling the killing “heinous,” Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended the reward in a motion Tuesday, and urged reluctant witnesses to come forward with information identifying the killer.
“Susan Leeds’ family and the entire Peninsula community deserve answers,” Hahn said.
During the investigation, authorities detained at least two people in connection to the killing, but they were both later released.
One of those detained, Cherie Townsend, was released five days after being taken into custody when the case against her was rejected by prosecutors due to insufficient evidence, and charges were never filed.
Townsend later filed a federal lawsuit against former Sheriff Jim McDonnell and others, alleging false arrest and imprisonment, defamation, emotional distress, negligence and a violation of her civil rights.
Since then, authorities have not identified any other suspects in the killing.
The mall where Leeds’ body was found is in a commercial district in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a wealthy suburban area with low crime levels.
Leeds’ killing was the first homicide reported in Rolling Hills Estates in nine years and had rattled the community, according to the Daily Breeze.
“A crime of this nature is highly unusual in our city, which is one of the safest in the Southland,” Rolling Hills Estates Mayor Britt Huff said in a statement after the killing was reported.
Anyone with additional information was asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.