Woman with Ties to Malibu Arrested A Second Time in 2018 Rolling Hills Estates Murder
Breaking News, Public Safety

Woman with Ties to Malibu Arrested A Second Time in 2018 Rolling Hills Estates Murder

A woman who was arrested and released in 2018 for the murder of a 66 year-old nurse, was arrested again today for that same murder.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigators told Malibu Daily News that after a five-year long investigation, they have gathered the necessary probable cause to issue a warrant for Cherie Townsend’s arrest in connection with the homicide.

Cherie Townsend after her arrest and release in 2018 for the murder of Susan Leeds. Townsend was arrested again for the same murder this morning in Orange County.

Investigators also indicated that Townsend has definite ties to Malibu, including an address on Pacific Coast Highway and has spent a significant time in the area.

On May 3rd, 2018, Susan Leeds was fatally stabbed (approximately 20 times), in the parking garage of the Promenade at the Peninsula mall.

Townsend was initially arrested after surveillance video shows Townsend’s car at the mall on the day of the murder. Townsend said she dropped her cell phone in the vicinity of the mall’s parking garage, which was later found by detectives and led to her original arrest.

The case against her was later rejected by prosecutors due to insufficient evidence and charges were never filed.

Townsend filed a lawsuit against the department the department which is still in litigation.

Over the last five years, LASD homicide investigators continued their investigation which led to sufficient evidence connecting Townsend to the murder and her subsequent arrest this morning in the San Clemente area of Orange County.

This is a developing story.

August 17, 2023

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Editor in Chief, Cece Woods

Malibu Daily News Editor in Chief Cece Woods founded The Local Malibu, an activism based platform, in 2014. The publication was instrumental in the success of two ballot measures, seating three Malibu City Councilmen in 2016 and the supporting the top two vote-getters again in 2020.

During the summer of 2018, Woods exposed the law enforcement cover-up in the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings and a few short months later, provided the most comprehensive local news coverage during the Woolsey Fire attracting over 1 million hits across her social media platforms.