Man arrested for woman's murder

Man arrested for woman's murder »Play Video
Chantha Meas was found dead Monday along a rural stretch of Granite Road north of the city.
A 44-year-old man who was allegedly making unwanted advances toward a gas station clerk has been arrested for her murder.

The suspect, Jeffrey Chitwood, was arrested Wednesday morning, the Kern County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.

Sheriff's investigators said Chitwood kidnapped 32-year-old Chantha Meas from her home, shot her in the head and then dumped her body off Granite Road, two miles north of Round Mountain Road.

The woman's body was found early Monday morning by a man driving to check on business he had to attend to in an oil field.

Detectives found out that Chitwood had allegedly made recent unwanted advances toward Meas at her workplace, a Shell Gas station at Airport Drive and Norris Road. The motive for the alleged abduction and murder is unknown, but the possibility of sexual assault is being investigated, according to a sheriff's office news release.

Meas, who was married and had a 4-year-old daughter, lived next door to her workplace, and surveillance cameras from the Shell station captured a portion of her abduction.

Search warrants served at Chitwood's home and vehicles turned up undisclosed evidence that connected Chitwood to Meas' murder, authorities said.

Cambodia native Meas had been living in the United States for nearly six years, and her goal was to become an American citizen, according to people who knew her. Meas successfully completed her citizenship test Oct. 10, and she wanted to travel to Cambodia to personally tell her mother the good news.

"It's affected and hit us hard, because we're just like a family here," said Kathy Elizondo, who knew Meas because Elizondo works at Four Seasons Hair Salon near the Shell station where Meas worked. "She will be missed dearly."

Chitwood was booked into Kern County Jail without the option of posting bail and faces murder charges.