Crime & Justice

Woman arrested for fatal stabbing of 66-year-old woman in parking lot

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Sheriff's officials have made an arrest after a woman was fatally stabbed inside her car in the parking lot of a Southern California shopping mall.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Friday that Cherie Townsend was arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the May 3 stabbing.

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McDonnell says investigators believe that Townsend was trying to rob 66-year-old Susan Leeds, who was fatally stabbed inside her car in Rolling Hills Estates.

Fred Leeds said his stepmother was "very sweet and very loving." Family members said she worked to educate people about diabetes.

Sheriff's Capt. Chris Bergner said it appeared to be a random crime of opportunity.

Townsend was being held on $1 million bail. A telephone number listed for her in public records rang unanswered Friday.