Larry McNabney (December 19, 1948 – September 12, 2001) was a Sacramento, California attorney whose death was discovered on February 5, 2002, buried in a vineyard. Elisa McNabney, his wife, was apprehended in Florida after a nationwide manhunt and charged with first-degree murder. When authorities discovered that her real name was Laren Sims and that she had served time in a Florida prison for fraud and identity theft, the case grabbed global headlines. Elisa, on the other hand, committed suicide in her detention cell before she could stand trial. Sarah Dutra, Elisa’s companion, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 11 years in jail for the death of Larry McNabney.
Toward the end of 2001, as the rest of the world grappled with the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Larry McNabney’s family was dealing with their own tragedy. In September 2001, the well-known lawyer vanished without a trace, and his family received conflicting information from his wife.
Larry’s relationship with a woman he knew as Elisa Barasch is explored in ABC News’ ‘20/20: Hell in Heels‘ and NBC’s “Dateline: Poison.” The authorities, on the other hand, revealed a history of deception and con-artistry that eventually led to murder. So, how about we find out what happened to Larry?
What Caused Larry McNabney’s Death?
Before relocating his firm to Sacramento, California, Lawrence William McNabney was a well-known and wealthy attorney in Nevada. The 52-year-old was a well-known person in the legal community and a quarter horse enthusiast.
Larry, on the other hand, was not without his flaws; he battled alcoholism. When he met Elisa Barasch, the rich lawyer had been married four times and had three children. She worked at Larry’s legal firm when they married in 1996.
Larry and Elisa were at a horse exhibition in Los Angeles County, California, on September 10, 2001. Larry left early, claiming to be sick, according to witnesses. He was observed in a wheelchair at the time, with Elisa transporting him away that day.
After that, Larry was unable to be located, and an employee at the legal firm filed a missing person report on November 30, 2001.
The investigation wasn’t launched until Larry’s son filed a follow-up report approximately a month later. A vineyard worker in San Joaquin County discovered a leg poking out of a shallow grave on February 5, 2002, and reported it to the authorities.
Larry’s body was rotting, and it was apparent he had been deceased for some time. He had been poisoned with acepromazine, a horse tranquillizer, according to the postmortem.
Who Killed Larry McNabney and Why?
It was business as usual at Larry McNabney’s law firm in Sacramento after his last appearance at the horse show. Elisa proceeded to negotiate with lawyers despite the fact that he never showed up.
She seemed to have a variety of answers for where Larry was: rehab, Costa Rica vacation, or cult membership. By the end of November, however, one of the new employees had grown suspicious because she had never seen Larry and had reported him missing to the police.
When Larry’s son filed a second missing person report, the investigation got underway. Elisa was last spotted leaving Sacramento in her luxury car on January 11, 2002, after closing down the office, after officials were unable to contact her.
Larry’s horse trailer, which contained Elisa’s possessions, was finally discovered by the authorities. They already knew Elisa was a fictitious name because no social security number or driver’s licence could be found in their systems.
The cops discovered documentation of Elisa’s different names throughout the years in the trailer. In actuality, she was a con artist who was wanted for credit card fraud in Florida and Washington. Elisa had a rap sheet with at least 38 different aliases that spanned many pages.
Laren Sims was Elisa’s real name, and she spent the majority of her life defrauding people. Finally, in March 2002, authorities were able to track Laren down to Destin, Florida. She was working two part-time jobs at the time, dating someone, and going by the name Shane Ivaroni.
Laren had liquidated all of Larry’s assets in the time since he was last seen, according to investigators. However, it didn’t take long after her arrest for the real story to emerge. Laren produced a three-page confession in which she implicated Sarah Dutra, the law firm’s young legal secretary.
Haylei Jordan said what she has learned from her mother is that nobody should have to feel trapped in an unsafe situation: “You have a right to whatever future you're willing to make."
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) April 2, 2022
Sarah was allegedly involved in poisoning Larry’s water with a deadly dose of horse tranquillizer, according to Laren. Sarah had become a regular feature at the horse events Larry and Laren frequented over time, and the two women had become good friends.
Laren then claimed to have gone to California’s Yosemite National Park to bury the remains. Sarah began digging a hole, but Larry was still alive, so they abandoned the plan, according to her.
They even went to Las Vegas, Nevada, to party and hunt for a site to bury Larry at one point. He was eventually sent to his home in Lodi, California, where the body was kept in the garage refrigerator.
Larry stayed in there for more than a month while Laren went about her business and kept up her facade. She hid his body in a farm in San Joaquin County in December 2001 before escaping in January 2002.
Laren was never brought to justice because she committed suicide while awaiting extradition from Florida weeks after her arrest. Sarah was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and accessory to murder in April 2003 and received the maximum term allowable.