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Leslie Chance Update: Calif. school principal arrested in husband's killing released from jail

Leslie Chance in an undated photo.
CBS affiliate KBAK
(CBS) BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Leslie Chance, an elementary school principal in California who was arrested Aug. 30 for investigation of murder after her husband's body was found in a field, was released from custody Tuesday evening after prosecutors sent the case back to the sheriff's department for "further investigation," The Bakersfield Californian reports.

The 46-year-old Chance had been scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, but the arraignment didn't move forward. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Andrea Kohler said her office had reviewed the case against Chance and chose to send it back to the sheriff's department. Kohler would not say what prosecutors wanted examined or how long the additional investigation should take, CBS affiliate KBAK reports.

The body of 45-year-old Todd Chance was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds Aug. 25 in a Bakersfield field by a farm worker. His 2011 Ford Mustang that was reported missing was discovered abandoned about 20 miles away.

Leslie Chance was arrested as the lone suspect and was being held without bail at the Lerdo Jail.

"We're confident that she's the person responsible for shooting him," Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruiett told CBS affiliate KBAK following her arrest. He reportedly said investigators had witnesses, a timeline and evidence.

Authorities wouldn't release any details about motive or evidence against Leslie Chance but they said the murder weapon had been recovered.

Leslie Chance's attorney, Kyle J. Humphrey, told The Bakersfield Californian his client is "adamant about her innocence."

Leslie Chance is principal of Fairview Elementary School that has about 525 students. She had reportedly been working in the school district since 1997.

The station reports Leslie Chance had been on bereavement leave since her husband's body was discovered but as of late Tuesday she was placed on paid administrative leave "until things get sorted out," Greenfield Union School District Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Kenneth R. Chichester said.

Chichester said Friday that he and the school staff were shocked by the news and that many of the staff believed authorities had arrested the wrong person, the Bakersfield Californian reports.

Chichester reportedly described Leslie Chance as knowledgeable, a hard worker, well-respected and quiet. He said he spoke with her after hearing of her husband's death and that she seemed subdued and in a daze, the paper reports.

Complete coverage of Leslie Chance on Crimesider

  • Stephanie Slifer

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