Lee Elementary School Principal Rachel Escobedo arrested, accused of drug, gun possession

Escobedo placed on leave pending case outcome

SAN DIEGO - The principal of Lee Elementary School in Paradise Hills was placed on leave following her weekend arrest on suspicion of possessing illegal drugs and a stolen gun, authorities reported Wednesday.

Rachel Escobedo, 45, reported to her regular shift Monday after posting a $25,000 bond Sunday. 

Parents of students at Lee Elementary were unnerved after being informed by 10News.

Bobby Cheatom's grandson attends Lee. He says he's shocked and disturbed that parents were not informed by the district. 

"I didn't know she was into that stuff ... It's bad for the school and very bad for the kids," he said.

Marlene Tablang wants to pull her son out of the school because of the arrest.

"I'm getting chills right now because you know you won't expect that. I wouldn't expect that," she said.

Escobedo was arrested in the Rolando Park area on Saturday, according to San Diego police.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday, an officer responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the 6800 block of Missy Court found Escobedo sitting in her parked 1993 Honda Accord with a 60-year-old man, SDPD public affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.

The officer spotted an open vodka bottle inside the vehicle and a small amount of what turned out to be marijuana in an ashtray, the lieutenant said.

After getting permission to search the car from Escobedo, who was in the driver's seat, the officer allegedly found a loaded .22-caliber pistol in the trunk, along with about two dozen prescription pills that appeared to be hydrocodone and four small baggies containing a white crystalline powder, Mayer said.

The apparent drugs were submitted for lab testing to positively identify them, he said, adding that a computer check showed that the handgun had been reported stolen.

Escobedo, a La Mesa resident, was taken into custody without incident on suspicion of illegally possessing a loaded firearm and controlled substances. Her companion, whose relationship to her was unclear, was released.

10News attempted to speak to Escobedo at her home in La Mesa but were told to go away. 

Several people went in and out of the home but refused to speak to 10News. Neighbors say there has been frequent police activity at Escobedo's home.

The educator posted $25,000 bail the next day and was given a Sept. 17 arraignment date.

Escobedo worked her usual shift on Monday, as her supervisors had yet to learn of her arrest, said Jack Brandais, spokesman for San Diego Unified School District. She was placed on leave Tuesday pending the outcome of the criminal case.

Retired SDUSD principal Judy Fogel agreed to fill in for Escobedo on a temporary basis, Brandais said.

Escobedo has worked for the district since 1996 as a primary school teacher and administrator. She has held her current post since May.

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