Sarah Dutra was hired as a secretary by the McNabney corporation when she was 21 years old. She met Laren Sims, who goes under the alias Elisa McNabney, there. Sims allegedly persuaded Dutra to assist her in murdering her husband Larry McNabney on September 11, 2001, and his body was discovered five months later. Sims and Dutra drove McNabney’s body to his home in Woodbridge, California, and stored it in the garage refrigerator for weeks after poisoning him with horse tranquillizer. They eventually transported his body to a vineyard near Linden, some 20 miles from his home, where it was buried in a shallow grave.
Ginger Miller was hired at Larry McNabney’s Sacramento law office and was the first to report him missing. Miller told police McNabney’s wife Elisa and an assistant Sarah Dutra exhibited secretive practices. #ABC2020 https://t.co/Nn3wDY5A5w pic.twitter.com/FEuEtcSYBb
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) April 2, 2022
The mysterious disappearance of Larry McNabney in September 2001 was not investigated until a few months later. The authorities subsequently discovered that his wife, Elisa, had been involved in a series of lies and deceptions. They eventually discovered that Elisa was a con woman named Laren Sims, who had a long criminal history.
While Laren Sims admitted to killing her husband, she also named Sarah Dutra, Larry’s secretary and a close friend of Laren’s, as a suspect. ‘20/20: Hell in Heels,’ an ABC News special, focuses on the case and Sarah’s subsequent trial. If you’re curious about what has happened to her since then, here’s what we know so far.
Sarah Dutra, Who is She?
Sarah Dutra was a fine arts student at California State University, Sacramento. When she responded to an ad for a part-time legal secretary at Larry’s law practise in 2000, she met Larry and Laren (known as Elisa).
Sarah became close friends with Laren and accompanied him and his wife to horse events. In addition, the two women went shopping frequently, purchasing high-end clothing and dressing similarly.
When Laren was caught for her husband’s murder, he confessed everything that had transpired to him, including how Sarah was implicated. Sarah allegedly assisted Laren in poisoning Larry while at a horse exhibition in September 2001, according to Laren.
The two then drove around looking for a suitable location to bury him. Sarah started digging a hole near Yosemite National Park in California, according to Laren. They returned home, though, because Larry was still alive.
They put Larry in the garage refrigerator when he died the next day. Apart from the body, they also wrapped the fridge in duct tape to seal it shut. Following that, Laren and Sarah concocted intricate cover tales to account for Larry’s absence. They even invited Larry’s kid to a party while the body was still in the garage at one point.
Sarah confessed to the crime following Laren’s confession. She pretended to have left the event, but returned when Laren called to tell her that her husband was sick. Sarah, on the other hand, admitted to being aware of the poisoning and claimed to have dug a grave.
She further said that Laren threatened to kill her if she didn’t assist in the transfer of the body to the refrigerator. Laren’s daughter, Haylei, testified at Sarah’s trial in early 2003 that Sarah showed no signs of being terrified of Larry’s wife. According to the prosecution, Laren and Sarah forged Larry’s signature on checks for money and sold all of his assets.
What happened to Sarah Dutra and Where Is She Now?
The defence emphasised Sarah Dutra’s spotless record, alleging that Laren tricked her into assisting in the murder. Sarah’s attorney also claimed that her client was interrogated all night and was not informed of her right to keep silent. According to the prosecution, Sarah was taken in by Laren’s beautiful lifestyle and the money he made.
Despite this, in March 2003, she was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and being an accessory to murder. Sarah was then condemned to 11 years and eight months in prison in her early twenties. She continued to paint and polish her talents as an artist while incarcerated. Sarah was freed from prison in the early hours of August 26, 2011, after serving nearly 85 per cent of her sentence.
She was sentenced to three years on parole in Solano County, California, where her parents resided after her release. Sarah has kept a low profile since then, and little is known about her present activities. Solano County is still her final known location.