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Police seek husband of woman killed on West Hills street

Los Angeles Police DepartmentLos Angeles Unified School District

A 46-year-old man remains on the loose after police say he chased down his estranged wife and stabbed her to death on a residential street in West Hills over the weekend.

Police said Michael Rodney Kane forced his way into a home where his estranged wife, Michelle Ann Kane, 43, was staying, then chased her down the street and killed her Saturday morning.

After scuffling with the homeowner and cutting the man’s hand with a knife, Kane allegedly stabbed his estranged wife multiple times about 7:50 a.m. before she collapsed in the street, police said.

Neighbors said they heard the commotion and stepped outside to find the woman mortally wounded.

“My son and my wife tried to stop the bleeding,” said Loni Specter, 63, who lives next door to where Kane and her children were staying. “Both of them did what they could, but she was pretty much dead. ... It was a nightmare.”

Kane’s two children, and two from the family with whom they were staying, hid in a bathroom during the attack, neighbor Roy Bernard said the homeowners told him. The wife of the injured man huddled with them, he said.

“She said, 'No noise. No talking. Stay quiet,'" Bernard said.

The woman’s husband, who knew both of the Kanes, told Bernard that he at first thought he could talk Michael Kane out of doing anything rash, and then, after he was attacked, shouted to Michelle to “run as fast as you can out the front door and don’t stop.”

“Unfortunately, her husband caught her and he butchered her,” Bernard said. “It’s a tragedy.”

Michelle Kane was pronounced dead at the scene in the hilly, well-kept neighborhood of mostly 1960s tract homes, many of them occupied by their original owners.

Just hours before the stabbing, Michelle had gone to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Topanga Station to report that her estranged husband had vandalized the home they once shared and had violated a temporary restraining order she’d recently obtained, Sgt. Al Flores said Sunday.

“She came in here the night before and said that they were going through a divorce and that she was concerned, that she was worried,” Flores said.

Among other things, Michelle told police that Michael had been uncharacteristically irrational lately and was using drugs, Flores said.

He said one of the officers at the station spent more than an hour with Michelle Kane on Friday night. Flores said he could not discuss specifics of their conversation because of the pending investigation, but he defended the LAPD’s handling of the situation and said it underscores the difficulties of dealing with domestic violence.

“I believe that everything that we could possibly do for her was done,” Flores said.

The suspect, who appears to have taught at at least two elementary schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is described as 5-foot-10 and weighing 175 pounds. He was last seen driving his 1999 Chrysler 300M silver, gray or mint green in color with California license plate number 4HGP487.

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kim.christensen@latimes.com

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