Principal Suspected of Murdering Husband Skips His Funeral

Principal Suspected of Murdering Husband Skips His Funeral
Leslie Jenea Chance and Todd Chance

09/05/2013 AT 03:45 PM EDT

Popular Bakersfield, Calif., elementary school principal Leslie Jenea Chance stayed away from the funeral of her husband, Todd Chance, this week as she remained the prime suspect in his murder.

"It was very hard for her to accept that the best thing for everyone was for her not to go to the funeral," her attorney Kyle Humphrey tells PEOPLE. "That didn’t stop the tears from not being able to say goodbye."

Chance, 46, was released from jail on Tuesday after Kern County prosecutors kicked the case back to the sheriff's office without filing charges.

But Humphrey advised Chance to miss Wednesday's funeral and spent much of the day conferring with her. "You can't account for how people are going to respond," Humphrey says, adding that an emotional mourner could "create a scene."

Todd Chance, 45, left the family's home at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 25 in his black Mustang, and later turned up riddled with bullets in an almond field. Sheriff's officials tell PEOPLE they have evidence that Leslie Chance drove the Mustang that morning, abandoned it in a residential area and returned home.

Humphrey says he has yet to see any evidence, and authorities haven't disclosed how Chance got home without the car. "Perhaps she teleported," he says. Because charges were never filed, he says, investigators at this point have no obligation to share their reports with him.

Humphrey maintains that Chance is "adamant about her innocence," and that she misses her job as principal at Fairview Elementary School. District officials told PEOPLE that Chance is on paid administrative leave, although Humphrey anticipates that would shift to unpaid leave if she's charged with murder.

Andrea Kohler, supervisor of the special prosecutions unit of the Kern County District Attorney, told PEOPLE earlier this week that her office was not rejecting the case, but wanted more investigative work.

Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt says, "We believe she's the person responsible for shooting Todd Chance."

According to NBC, about 150 people attended Todd Chance's funeral in his hometown of Shafter, Calif., including his parents.
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