A 46-year-old man who police say chased down his estranged wife and stabbed her to death in the middle of a residential neighborhood was arrested early Monday morning in San Bernardino County.
Michael Rodney Kane forced his way into a West Hills Home on Saturday morning where his wife, Michelle Ann Kane, 43, was staying. He then chased her down the street and killed her, police said.
He later fled the scene.
LAPD homicide detective Dave Peteque told KTLA-TV Channel 5 that the search moved to San Bernardino County after sheriff’s deputies there found Kane’s abandoned vehicle. A search warrant was served at the residence where the vehicle was parked, he said, but the suspect was not there.
The investigation then led to a Joshua Tree motel room, where authorities found Kane, Peteque said.
“The door was blocked from the inside – we had to use force to gain entry,” he said. “The suspect was cooperative and taken into custody without incident.”
Kane had suffered some injuries but it was unclear whether they were sustained during the struggle in West Hills or were self-inflicted later. He was treated at a local hospital, taken to the Topanga Station for processing and booked on suspicion of first-degree murder.
On Saturday morning, Kane scuffled with the homeowner where his wife was staying, then 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.
The suspect was a teacher at Nestle Avenue Charter Elementary School in Tarzana since 2008, Los Angeles Unified School District officials confirmed Monday.