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No charges against Bakersfield school principal in husband's slaying

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A Bakersfield elementary school principal who was arrested in connection with her husband’s death has been released pending further investigation, the Kern County Sheriff’s Department said.

Leslie Jenea Chance, 46, was released from custody Tuesday evening after five days in jail.

Chance was expected to be arraigned in the shooting death of her husband, 45-year-old Todd Chance, but just hours after investigators gave Kern County prosecutors their report on the slaying, prosecutors sent it back and ordered her released.

“We have sent the case back to the sheriff’s department for further investigation,” said Mark Pafford, Kern County’s chief deputy district attorney.

Todd Chance was found shot to death in a field northwest of Bakersfield on Aug. 25. Investigators found his 2011 black Ford Mustang abandoned in a residential neighborhood in town about 20 miles away.

Leslie Chance remains the sole suspect in her husband’s death, the Bakersfield Californian reported Wednesday.

“My client’s adamant about her innocence,” Chance’s attorney, Kyle J. Humphrey, told the newspaper.

The day after Chance's arrest, the school of roughly 525 students where she was principal was trying to digest the news.

A Greenfield Union School District official said the Kern County Sheriff's Department notified him of the arrest Thursday night.

Friday morning, there were "a lot of emotions, a lot of tears, a lot of confusion" at Fairview Elementary School, where Chance worked, said Ken Chichester, the district's assistant superintendent of personnel.

Leslie Chance, he said, had been out of school on bereavement leave the whole week.

Chichester described Chance as a smart, hardworking and well-respected educator who had been with the district since 1997. This was her third year as principal of Fairview.

"It's very shocking, so out of character for everybody that knows her," he said. 

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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