Larry McNabney was a Sacramento, California
attorney whose body was found buried in a vineyard on March 5, 2002.
The case made national headlines when police learned that his wife,
Elisa McNabney, was actually Laren Sims who had served time in a
Florida prison for fraud and identity theft. After a nationwide
manhunt, Elisa was captured in Florida and arraigned for first-degree
murder. Before Elisa could stand trial however, she hanged herself in
her jail cell.
Elisa's friend Sarah Dutra was later convicted of
voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 11 years in prison for
murdering Larry McNabney.
Elisa McNabney was born Laren Renee Sims to
parents Jesse and Jackie Sims on January 3, 1967 in Brooksville,
Florida. Laren was a cheerleader and excellent student at Hernando
High School; she had an IQ of 140. Despite her intelligence, she
dropped out of high school, had two children with two different
fathers, and started stealing. Laren was arrested for stealing L'Oreal
hair color kit from Woolworth's in Tampa, Florida. After being
released on that charge, she violated her probation by illegally using
a credit card. She cut off her ankle monitor and headed to Las Vegas,
Nevada with her daughter Haylei.
Over the years, Laren Sims had a total of 38 aliases, including:
- Melissa Godwin
- Tammy Keelin
- Elizabeth Barasch - a woman she met in Florida prison
- Elisa Redelsperger - the name she used when she met Larry
- Shane Ivaroni - the name she used while she was on the run
Marriage to Larry McNabney
Elisa Redelsperger met Larry McNabney in 1995 when
she applied for a job at his Las Vegas law office. She worked as his
office manager and settled large cases. However, in late 1995, Larry's
law firm was investigated by the Nevada State Bar, which determined
that Elisa embezzled more than $74,000 from clients. Larry closed his
office in Nevada and moved to Sacramento, California. Despite this,
Elisa and Larry married in 1996.
On September 10, 2001, following a horse show,
Elisa McNabney and her friend Sarah Dutra, with whom she worked at the
law office, injected Larry with the horse tranquilizer drug
acepromazine at a Los Angeles hotel. According to her later
confession, Elisa drove to Yosemite National Park to bury Larry, but
he was still alive. Elisa and Sarah kept Larry's body in the
refrigerator in their garage for months. His body was later moved to
the nearby winery where it was discovered on February 5, 2002. By that
time however, Elisa liquidated the couple's assets, totaling more than
$500,000, and disappeared.
After the discovery of Larry's body, Elisa was the
subject of a nationwide manhunt. She was going by the alias Shane
Ivaroni and was hiding out in Destin, Florida. On March 20, 2002,
Elisa was staying at her daughter Haylei's friend's house in Fort
Walton Beach when she was turned in for the reward money.
She was booked into the Hernando County Jail and
was to be extradited to California. While awaiting extradition, Elisa
gave a full confession to law enforcement. One week later, on Easter
Sunday 2002, Elisa hanged herself in her jail cell.
Trial of Sarah Dutra
Sarah Dutra went on trial for the murder of Larry
McNabney in 2003. She faced life imprisonment without parole if
convicted of first-degree murder, but she was only found guilty of
voluntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to the maximum of 11 years
In Elisa McNabney's suicide note, she asked her
lawyer to sue the Hernando County Jail for not preventing her suicide.
She also asked that her children receive any funds raised from the
lawsuit. "This is all I can give to my children... My actions now will
allow them to move into the future without this heavy burden. They
won't have to watch my trial on Court TV. It should all die with me,"
she wrote in the note. She also claims that she was not checked
regularly in her cell, but an investigation has since disputed the
Sarah Dutra was released from the Central
California Women's Facility on August 26, 2011 after serving
eighty-five percent of her sentence.
This case was the basis for the made-for-TV movie
Lies My Mother Told Me which aired on Lifetime in 2005. The
film starred Joely Richardson as Elisa, Kailin See as Sarah, and
Hayden Panettiere as Haylei.
Convicted murderer Sarah Dutra released from prison
By Jennifer Bonnett - LodiNews.com
August 26, 2011
The woman accused of poisoning her Woodbridge boss
a decade ago was released early Friday morning from the Central
California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.
Sarah Dutra, who served nearly her entire sentence,
was convicted of poisoning attorney Larry McNabney on Sept. 11, 2001.
She and her alleged accomplice drove his body north and stashed it in
a garage refrigerator in his Woodbridge home before ultimately burying
it in a shallow grave.
His body was found in February 2002 in a vineyard
Dutra was a 21-year-old art student at California
State University, Sacramento, when she befriended Lauren Sims, the
then-wife of McNabney, the boss at the firm where Dutra worked as a
legal secretary. The women hatched a plot to poison McNabney with a
horse tranquilizer and steal money from his law practice, according to
Sims, who had a long history of criminal activity
and aliases, was also arrested but ultimately hung herself in jail.
She left a three-page confession letter that implicated Dutra and left
her to stand trial alone.
She has served most of the 11-year sentence for
voluntary manslaughter and was released at 4:45 a.m. Friday morning,
according to the state department of corrections and rehabilitation.
Dutra, now 31, was granted a parole transfer so she
could serve her three years of parole in Solano County, where her
parents live. She was raised in Vacaville.
"A parole tranfer was approved from Sacramento
County to Solano County in order that she be able to maintain strong
family ties to aid in her successful reintegration," said Luis Patino,
a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and
Dutra was initially charged with capital murder,
but a jury ultimately convicted her of voluntary manslaughter and
being an accessory to murder. The judge sentenced her to the maximum
11-year term in the Chowchilla prison, where she has been since April
McNabney's adult son and daughter said they're
still coming to terms with Dutra's release.
"We, as his children, are working on forgiveness
for our health and well-being," Tavia Williams told The Record earlier
this month, when she was informed of Dutra's release by state
At a resentencing hearing in 2007, a judge said
Dutra showed "unparalleled callousness" in helping to carry out the
At the time, Judge F. Clark Sueyres said Dutra
helped drug McNabney, put the dying man into a wheelchair and placed
him in the backseat of his truck at a Southern California horse show.
Dutra and Sims took a scenic route home, stopping in Yosemite National
Park to bury McNabney, but changed their minds because the ground was
too hard and he was still alive.
He died in his home and was stashed in the
For months, the women cashed settlement checks
intended for personal injury victims and made up excuses for
McNabney's absence at the law firm and horse shows that they continued
At the hearing, Deputy Public Defender Keith Arthur
said Dutra went along with Sims' actions because she was also a victim
and was manipulated by the 36-year-old woman. Until then, Dutra had no
The case was one of the first in California to be
sent back by the Third District Court of Appeal after a Supreme Court
decision found problems with the state's sentencing rules, according
to News-Sentinel archives.
Appellate justices said trial judge Bernard J.
Garber overstepped his bounds by giving Dutra the maximum sentence,
rather than the standard term of six years. Attorneys began preparing
for a convoluted sentencing trial, but then the state Legislature
changed the law that gave judges more discretion in sentencing.
Judge orders Dutra to serve out full prison term
By Scott Smith - Recordnet.com
December 4, 2007
STOCKTON - Describing her acts
as showing "unparalleled callousness," a San Joaquin County Superior
Court judge sent Sarah Dutra back to prison Monday to serve out her
11-year sentence for helping poison to death a Sacramento attorney in
2001 and burying him in an Acampo vineyard.
Judge F. Clark Sueyres then
told the 27-year-old Dutra that she needs to come to terms with her
dual personality. She was characterized in court at times as being a
loving, artistic woman and at other times as a calculating killer.
"I just suggest that somehow
you ... reconcile these two parts of you, which we know exist, so that
you can truly live the better side of yourself for your future,"
Dutra was convicted of
voluntary manslaughter for the Sept. 11, 2001, slaying of Laurence
McNabney. At the time, Dutra, of Vacaville, was studying art at
California State University, Sacramento.
A jury found that she helped
McNabney's wife, Laren Sims, carry out the plot and bury him in an
Acampo vineyard. Sims, 36, killed herself in a Florida jail shortly
after her arrest, leaving Dutra, then 21, to stand trial alone.
Superior Court Judge Bernard
Garber, who oversaw the original trial, sentenced Dutra to the maximum
term, 11 years. The state's 3rd District Court of Appeal overturned
Garber's sentence last year, saying the judge overstepped his
The appeals court earlier this
year reversed itself and gave Sueyres, newly assigned to the case, the
right to decide if Dutra should serve the maximum term. Had Sueyres
ordered a shorter sentence, Dutra would have walked free based on the
time she already has served.
Dutra will be eligible for
release in October 2011, said a spokesman for Chowchilla's Central
California Women's Facility, where she is serving her sentence.
Dutra did not speak during
Monday's hearing, but her face often flushed with emotion, and she
openly cried as San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas
Testa described how she taped closed a refrigerator holding McNabney's
body in his Woodbridge home and slept in his bed nearby.
The jury already gave Dutra a
break when it found her guilty of voluntary manslaughter and not
murder, Testa said. He asked Sueyres to send her back to prison,
saying Dutra could have prevented McNabney's slow death.
For at least three months,
Dutra and Sims lived extravagantly on money from McNabney's law firm.
The pair checked into the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas with McNabney's
body in the trunk of their Jaguar, Testa said.
"Page after page, you hear this
callousness that's off the charts," Testa said, thumbing through court
transcripts. "No one can say there was a gun held to her head."
Karen Dutra, the defendant's
mother, pointed out her daughter's tender side, telling how she tended
to inmates ill with heart ailments and breast cancer. The younger
Dutra blossomed as an artist, Karen Dutra said, explaining pieces of
her daughter's art displayed in court.
"Prison is something I think
you have to get used to," said Karen Dutra, who visited the Chowchilla
prison weekly. "Sarah had to learn to defend herself, stand up to
McNabney's ex-wife, JoDee
Bebout of Reno, said she and her adult children still have not
forgiven Sarah Dutra. Bebout scolded Dutra directly and read a letter
written by two adult children Bebout had with McNabney.
"When you helped murder Larry,
you helped kill a part of my children," Bebout said tearfully.
San Joaquin County Deputy
Public Defender Keith Arthur dominated the hearing, speaking mostly
about McNabney's alcoholism and Sims' long rap sheet. Dutra was conned
by Sims and became Sims' victim like the slain McNabney, Arthur said.
"She is secondary victim of one
of the most evil people this court will ever see," Arthur said. "She
was a coward, and because of that, Larry died."
Maximum for Dutra
By Linda Hughes-Kirchubel - Recordnet.com
April 22, 2003
Spontaneous applause erupted in a San Joaquin
County courtroom Monday as a judge ordered 22-year-old Sarah Dutra to
spend 11 years in prison for killing Sacramento attorney Laurence
The former college art student, who for months
helped her best friend, Laren Sims, cover up McNabney's murder, was
convicted last month of voluntary manslaughter. In animated comments,
Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa scoffed at a defense request for
"She is a murderer," he said. "She should have been
convicted of murder, but unfortunately, we have to respect the jury's
verdict. ... I implore the court, do justice in this case. Throw the
book at Sarah Dutra."
By sentencing Dutra to the maximum allowed under
the law, Superior Court Judge Bernard Garber did just that. He refused
probation and any reduced sentence, citing Dutra's apparent lack of
remorse and "sociopathic personality."
Garber described testimony of what he called a
"chilling" scene that he said was the turning point of the trial.
"The defendant, along with (Sims), drags the
victim's body down the stairs in the Woodbridge house, stuffs him into
the refrigerator ... (and) duct-tapes the refrigerator shut," Garber
said. "And then they leave him in that refrigerator for about three
months or so."
Garber then reminded Dutra she had invited
McNabney's son, Joe, to the Woodbridge house to party with her even as
his father lay dead in the refrigerator.
"If that's not callousness, I don't know what is,"
he said. "Probation is denied."
Five months after McNabney's September 2001
disappearance from a Southern California horse show, farm workers
discovered his body, laced with a deadly amount of horse
tranquilizers, in a Linden vineyard.
Six weeks later -- after weeks on the run from
authorities -- an apprehended Sims told Florida investigators that she
and Dutra had used horse tranquilizer to poison McNabney, Sims'
husband, at the horse show in Industry.
With McNabney still alive and passing in and out of
consciousness, the women drove home, stopping in Yosemite to attempt a
burial. But McNabney was still alive, so they returned to McNabney's
Woodbridge home. He died there later that night, Sims said, and they
stored his body in the garage's spare refrigerator until December.
That autumn the women kept McNabney's office
running, excusing his whereabouts to clients, family members and
friends, forging McNabney's name on documents and misappropriating
client funds. The two spent thousands on new clothes, cars and trips.
"There was forgery after forgery, theft after
theft," Garber said. "To me, it just shows a sociopathic personality."
Before Garber imposed the sentence, McNabney's
family spoke about the effect Dutra's actions had on them.
"Every day we sat in court, you would smile and
wave at your dad, showing no respect or remorse ... for this
unthinkable act," said Tavia Williams, McNabney's daughter. "Even
while they showed pictures of our dad with body parts sticking out of
the ground, or the (video)tapes would describe what the two of you did
to our dad, there was never evidence by your body language that you
were ever sorry."
Garber also ordered Dutra to pay more than $157,000
in restitution to McNabney's clients as well as attorney fees for her
representation, and he stayed an eight-month sentence on a lesser
charge -- accessory to murder.
Testa estimated she could be released shortly after
she turns 30.
After the hearing, Dutra smiled broadly at her
defense team as she held a quiet conversation. Her parents, Mark and
Karen Dutra, accompanied by their daughter Rachel, refused to comment
on the sentence.
In a letter to Garber -- one of 24 received on the
defendant's behalf -- the Dutras begged for mercy for their daughter.
"From a young age, Sarah has reached out to those
less fortunate (than) herself with an accepting nature, looking only
for the 'good' in others," they wrote. "This past year has been a
nightmare for our entire family. With Sarah's promising future, it has
been difficult to fathom the situation with which she found herself
entangled. We love our daughter and struggle to accept the fact that
Sarah has been found guilty."
The letters described Dutra's youth, successes in
high school and college, and promising art career.
"Anyone that truly knew her would describe her as a
friend of integrity that would always go out of her way to help,"
wrote Jennifer Murray, a friend and former roommate. "Although I do
not dispute Sarah's involvement with Mr. McNabney's demise, I do truly
believe that she had been manipulated into her role."
Jurors also attended the hearing, sitting behind
the McNabney family. Afterward, Williams embraced several of them,
thanking them for their service. Some regret their verdict.
"I wish we would have done our job," said juror
Garey Zimmer, 58, who had argued forcefully that Dutra should be
convicted on nothing more than voluntary manslaughter. "The judge did
his. But we just didn't have all the information that would have made
it possible for the murder conviction.
Jailed mistery widow hangs self
April 1, 2002
The woman accused of poisoning her husband with a
horse tranquilizer and burying the Sacramento attorney's body in a
vineyard near Linden hanged herself in her Florida jail cell,
Laren Renee Sims had been held without bail in the
Hernando County jail in Brooksville, Fla., since her arrest March 18
in Destin, Fla.
The 36-year-old was found hanging from a braided
pillow case Saturday at 11:27 p.m. EST and died at a hospital at 4:57
a.m. EST Sunday, according to Florida officials.
"This whole thing is tragic," said Nelida Stone, a
spokeswoman for the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office. "From the
death of Larry McNabney to Sims' suicide."
Several days before her death, Sims wrote a
three-page confession detailing how she and Sarah Dutra, a 21-year-old
secretary from her husband's law firm, allegedly killed Larry
McNabney, then buried his body, police said. San Joaquin County
sheriff's officials had been seeking Sims' extradition.
McNabney, 53, was last seen alive Sept. 10 being
pushed in a wheelchair by Sims at a Los Angeles horse show. A day
later, authorities said, Sims started clearing out his office and sold
his $110,000 horse trailer and truck.
Sims shut down his law practice in January and
disappeared with about $500,000 of his assets, officials said.
"Her death leaves a lot of unanswered questions,"
District Attorney John Phillips could not be
reached for comment Sunday.
"We're left with a gaping hole in this case,"
Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa said. "It's a real
disappointment because of all the unanswered questions it leaves. Much
of the investigation will remain on course, but ... it's still
The Sheriff's Office, Stone said, has requested the
U.S. Department of Justice assist in the investigation.
"They will help us dissect the financial schemes
they (Sims and Dutra) were involved in," Stone said.
Sims told investigators she and Dutra spent
$150,000, but there is another $350,000 unaccounted for, Stone said.
"Everything that involves Sims involves Dutra,"
Stone added. "Their cases overlap."
But attorney Kevin Clymo, who represented Dutra at
a recent hearing, said Sims' flight from California and suicide
suggested she was feeling ''consciousness of guilt.''
''I don't think it really affects Sarah's case one
way or the other,'' he said. ''I think the truth will come out. I
think the truth is that Sarah is not guilty of murder and I do believe
as this story evolves and is presented that that's what everybody will
Police said Sims described in her confession how
she and Dutra gave McNabney horse tranquilizers at a Los Angeles
hotel, then drove to Yosemite National Park to bury him.
When they discovered he was still alive, they took
him back home to Woodbridge, police said. McNabney died shortly
Sims said she kept the body in a refrigerator for
several months before burying it in a San Joaquin County vineyard,
police said. Farm workers discovered the body in February.
Dutra was arrested on murder and conspiracy charges
a week ago. She has not entered a plea and is scheduled to be
Prosecutors could seek the death penalty or life
imprisonment without parole for Dutra, a college student and former
high school class president.
Dutra, who is being held at the San Joaquin County
Jail, refused to speak to a Record reporter Sunday. And as of Sunday
afternoon, she was unaware of Sims' apparent suicide, officials said.
"To our knowledge, she doesn't know," Stone said.
"But her family knows."
Dutra was being held in an extension of the jail's
medical ward because of the notoriety of the case, Stone said.
"She's being isolated from other prisoners," Stone
said. "We are taking precautions with her."
Sims was being held in a similar ward in Florida,
Authorities say Sims had a 113-page criminal
record, was wanted in Florida and Washington on credit card and
grand-theft charges, and had more than a dozen aliases and multiple
Social Security numbers. Three Florida counties dropped their charges
against Sims last week to speed her return to California.
Apparently, McNabney never knew Sims' real name,
officials said. When he met her in 1995, she had gone by Elisa
Barasch, the last name of a former cellmate in Florida, where she
served seven months for violating her parole for grand theft and
Her most recent arrest records in Florida refer to
her as Elisa McNabney, Florida authorities said. In the past, Sims had
used several different names and changed her physical appearance
Sims had been married twice previously and had a
17-year-old daughter, Haylei Jordan, who was with Sims in Florida when
she was arrested. Jordan was using the name Penelope Ivaroni.
Jordan's father and Sims' ex-husband, Scott Jordan,
could not be reached for comment Sunday.
County sheriff's officials said friends of the
daughter turned her in, and the teenager later was turned over to
Sims' parents, who had been estranged from Sims for a decade.
Okaloosa County sheriff's spokesman Rick Hord said
Jordan cooperated with law enforcement when questioned about the case
"She didn't have your typical childhood," he said.
"She knew her mother was hiding from the law."
Sims' death early Sunday appeared to be
well-planned, Hernando County sheriff's Lt. Phillip Wood said. She had
been in the jail's medical unit, and officers said they had been
checking on her every 15 minutes.
Her lawyer, Tom Hogan, didn't return phone calls
"Sims' suicide might hinder and complicate the
prosecution's case, but in the end, justice will be served," Stone
said. "Obviously, her testimony was important to (Dutra's case), and
now we're not going to have the opportunity to speak to Sims.
Lawyer's body likely refrigerated for months
By Neil Gonzales and Jeff Hood - Recordnet.com
March 2, 2002
The body of a Sacramento attorney found buried in a
Linden-area vineyard in February probably was stored for several
months in a refrigerator as his wife kept up appearances, liquidated
his assets and ultimately disappeared, officials said Friday.
San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office officials also
confirmed that Larry McNabney, 53, who lived in Woodbridge, died of a
lethal dose of horse tranquilizers -- administered, they believe, by
Elisa McNabney, the wife who has so far eluded a
nationwide law enforcement hunt, faces an arrest warrant charging her
with first-degree murder, authorities said. The warrant also seeks a
special circumstance charging her with poisoning for the purpose of
financial gain, authorities said.
The warrant, moreover, draws the FBI's active
involvement in an exhaustive case that has taken local investigators
through many intriguing turns and pitted them against what they
describe as one of the most cunning suspects they've come across.
"Elisa McNabney ... has (woven) an extensive web of
deception," San Joaquin County Sheriff Baxter Dunn told a news
conference at the Sheriff's Office's French Camp headquarters, where
some details of the office's investigation were laid out. "She's
probably one of the most deceptive people we've ever seen. She is not
what she appears, and she appears differently over and over and over,
depending on who's dealing with her at which times."
Although the FBI is already helping in the search
for Elisa McNabney, it will open its own case and assign agents to
work closely with local authorities, sheriff's homicide Detective
Javier Ramos said.
Elisa McNabney, 35, may have fled the state or even
the country, using different aliases and Social Security numbers, Dunn
Authorities believe Larry McNabney, 52, died
shortly after he was last seen alive Sept. 10 at a horse-show
competition he was winning in Industry, in northeastern Los Angeles
"We also believe, based on forensic evidence, that
his body was preserved by refrigeration between September and the
three to six weeks before his body was found," Dunn said.
Larry McNabney's remains were found Feb. 5. Elisa
McNabney was last heard from in January.
Thursday, investigators recovered a refrigerator
once belonging to the McNabneys and given to a Clements family
acquainted with the couple in late December or early January, Ramos
said. Larry McNabney's body may have been stored in that refrigerator,
After Larry McNabney's disappearance, his wife gave
differing accounts of his whereabouts - "that he was in drug rehab in
Southern California, that he had moved to Costa Rica, that he joined a
cult in Florida," Dunn said.
All the while, Elisa McNabney liquidated at least
$500,000 in assets from her husband and his clients, Dunn said.
Interestingly, among the items found in a McNabney
horse trailer by investigators was the true-crime paperback "Bitter
Blood," about murders in Kentucky and North Carolina.
Larry McNabney was last seen at Industry's Pacific
Palms Conference Resort, which has equestrian facilities with stables,
rodeo rinks and 15 miles of nature trails. None of the hotel employees
saw anything suspicious, according to the hotel's controller, who
would give her name only as Pam.
But Sarah Dutra, who accompanied the McNabneys to
the horse show, said she saw Elisa McNabney wheel her apparently
intoxicated husband to their red truck, then drive away with him,
according to information in a search warrant. Twenty minutes later,
Elisa McNabney returned without her husband, the search warrant said.
The next day, Elisa McNabney asked Southern
California horse trainer Casey Devitt if he wanted her husband's
ostrich-skin boots, hats and show clothes, then left them in a tack
room for Devitt to collect.
"She said he'd joined a cult in Washington and
wouldn't be showing horses again," Devitt said Friday.
Devitt said he reacted with disbelief, but Elisa
McNabney stuck to her story.
Devitt said he didn't care to get close to the
"Larry was a drinker," he said, "and we didn't want
to know Elisa that well, to be honest."
The drug acepromazine, one of the substances for
which the search warrant said investigators were looking, typically is
used to calm horses, dogs and cats, according to veterinary sources.
Devitt said it isn't difficult for people in the
horse business to obtain acepromazine, which is helpful in calming
jittery animals and preventing muscle spasms.
Toxicologist Alan Barbour, a court-recognized
expert from Fresno who has testified in murder cases, said mixing
acepromazine with alcohol could be lethal. A toxicology journal in
1998 reported that acepromazine had been used by a person to commit
The Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, forwarded a laptop
computer that once belonged to the McNabneys to the FBI for analysis,
hoping it might yield clues to Larry McNabney's death and Elisa
Darlene Mills of San Andreas, who befriended the
McNabneys five years ago, told authorities Elisa McNabney gave her the
laptop computer in May. But when she turned it on, she told
authorities, she saw a document that contained a person's "disturbing"
thoughts and feelings, filled with obscenities.
Mills said Friday that she wouldn't discuss what's
she saw, saying she erased the files. Last month, she notified the
Sheriff's Office she had it.
"I've learned more about them from the news than I
knew personally," Mills said.
Sacramento attorney John Panneton said he's
representing two former McNabney clients who claim they had checks
worth $150,000 forged by Elisa McNabney. Panneton said the checks were
the result of an insurance settlement after an auto accident, one for
$100,000 and the other for $50,000. The clients' names were forged on
the checks, Panneton said.
"They kept bugging Elisa, 'Where's our money,
where's our money?' and it wasn't until one of the employees (Ginger
Miller, who reported Larry McNabney missing) said, 'I hate to tell
you, but your checks have been here.' My clients didn't find that out
until November sometime."
Another new Panneton client told him Elisa McNabney
tried to pass herself off as an attorney in her husband's absence.
"She said, 'I'm the attorney that's going to be
handling the case for you,' " Panneton said. "My client believed this
was part of the team of McNabney and Associates."
Larry McNabney was reprimanded by the Nevada State
Bar for his wife's misdeeds in 1995. He hired her to work in his
office, and within a few months, $74,543 was missing from a client's
trust accounts. A few months after he discovered the shortfall and
confronted Elisa McNabney, he made her his fifth wife.
"I never got to know her too well, not that I
wanted to," said Tom Wright, a childhood friend of Larry McNabney's
from Reno who is district attorney of Mineral County, Nev.
Although Elisa McNabney frequently joined the men
for coffee near her husband's Reno office, Wright said he didn't learn
much about her past.
"She talked about her horses, and it was mostly
small talk," he said. "I don't think she wanted people to know."
The Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward
Foundation is offering $10,000 for information leading to her arrest.
In addition, the Sheriff's Office has asked the
television programs "America's Most Wanted" and "Unsolved Mysteries"
to broadcast the case nationally. Producers of the shows are expected
to start filming in a few days.