Elisa McNabney was born Laren Renee Sims in Attleboro, Massachusetts, to parents Jesse and Jackie Sims before migrating to Florida. Laren was a cheerleader and a good student at Hernando High School, with a 140 IQ. She dropped out of high school, had two children with two separate fathers, and began stealing despite her intelligence. Laren was arrested in Tampa, Florida, for stealing a L’Oreal hair colour kit from a Woolworth’s. She broke her probation by fraudulently using a credit card after being freed on that charge. She ditched her ankle monitor and took her daughter Haylei to Las Vegas, Nevada.
When Larry McNabney’s body was discovered in a vineyard in 2002, officials discovered some frightening secrets about his wife, Elisa. To begin with, that wasn’t her actual name. ‘20/20: Hell in Heels,’ an ABC News special, focuses on how Laren Sims transformed into Elisa Barasch after she met Larry, finally killing him for financial gain.
So, if you’re curious about Larry’s first encounter with Laren and what happened after that, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Elisa / Laren Sims Meet Larry McNabney?
Laren Renee Sims was born in the Massachusetts town of Attleboro in 1967. She grew up in Florida with three other siblings and had a rather ordinary upbringing. Despite being at the top of her class, Laren dropped out before graduating from high school.
She married as a teenager and had a son and a daughter with two different partners over the next few years. Laren then went on to deceive and steal from others for the rest of her life.
Laren had served time in prison and had used many aliases by the time she met Larry. Laren ditched her ankle monitor in the early 1990s and wound up in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1995, she strolled into Larry’s law firm in Sin City and identified herself as Elisa Barasch and demanded a job. In fact, her Florida cellmate’s name was Barasch. Laren was in prison at the time for violating his parole for grand theft and fraud.
Larry recruited her as the office manager, and they began dating soon after, despite their nearly 17-year age difference. In January of 1996, the pair tied the knot. However, Larry’s troubles began the next year, when he lost his Nevada licence to practise medicine.
Laren had embezzled more than $70,000 from her husband’s clients, and it turned out. Surprisingly, Larry stayed with her, instead of relocating to Sacramento, California, to build an office there.
What Caused Elisa McNabney’s Death?
Larry McNabney’s family believed that after his marriage to Laren, she sought to keep Larry away from them. Unfortunately, his life had taken a turn for the worse. Larry’s daughter claims that his father began abusing drugs and alcohol as a result of the lifestyle that Laren drew him back into.
Then, in September 2001, he was last seen at a horse exhibition in Los Angeles County, California. Laren was seen wheeling him out in a wheelchair, according to witnesses. Larry was a no-show everywhere after that, but Laren kept up appearances.
Laren concocted numerous explanations about Larry’s whereabouts and how he conducted business at the firm, including wasting customer settlement money. Authorities eventually began investigating Larry’s disappearance and discovered that Laren had cleaned his office and liquidated his valuables.
But they just knew her as Elisa at the time. So when the police learned Laren’s genuine name and identified her aliases, they suspected she had something to do with Larry’s disappearance.
She also had outstanding warrants in other states for various non-violent offences, which the cops discovered. His remains were discovered in a shallow grave at a vineyard in San Joaquin County, California, in February 2002.
Laren had vanished at that point, but officials were able to find her down in Destin, Florida, where she was living with her teenage daughter, Haylei Jordan. Laren had been working two jobs as a server and a clerk at the time, under a different name. “I’m the one you’re searching for,” Laren stated calmly when the cops approached her.
Laren then wrote a three-page confession in which she admitted to poisoning Larry with horse tranquillizers, but she also blamed another law firm employee, Sarah Dutra. Both were involved in the poisoning of Larry, according to Laren’s confession.
After that, they looked for a place to bury the body before returning it to Lodi, California. Larry was thrown in a refrigerator after being wrapped in plastic and duct tape. In December 2001, Laren buried her husband in the vineyard.
Many were surprised by Laren’s behaviour because she had organised a surprise birthday celebration for Larry (born in December 1948) and invited his loved ones before cancelling at the last minute. By that time, he’d been dead for months. Laren was found hanging from a bedsheet in her Florida jail cell in the early morning hours of March 30, 2002; she died the next day.
At the time, the 36-year-old was awaiting extradition to California. She begged her lawyer to sue the Hernando County Jail for permitting her to commit suicide in a suicide note. However, because she was in the medical unit and cops checked on her every 15 minutes, authorities concluded Laren planned it properly.
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) April 2, 2022