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Sarah Elizabeth DUTRA





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 10, 2001
Date of arrest: March 19, 2002
Date of birth: 1980
Victim profile: Larry McNabney, 53 (the boss at the firm where worked as a legal secretary)
Method of murder: Poisoning (horse tranquilizer drug acepromazine)
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Status: Convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 11 years in prison on March 19, 2003. Released from the Central California Women's Facility on August 26, 2011
photo gallery

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.

Early life

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 McNabney
  • 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 prison.


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 charge.

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 -

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 near Linden.

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 prosecutors.

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 Rehabilitation.

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 2003.

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 officials.

At a resentencing hearing in 2007, a judge said Dutra showed "unparalleled callousness" in helping to carry out the crime.

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 refrigerator.

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 to frequent.

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 criminal record.

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 -

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," Sueyres said.

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 authority.

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 others, too."

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 -

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 McNabney.

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 probation.

"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, authorities said.

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," Stone said.

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 mind-numbing."

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 see.''

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 afterward.

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 arraigned Wednesday.

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, officials said.

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 fraud.

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 drastically.

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 in Florida.

"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 Sunday.

"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 -

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 his wife.

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 said.

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 County.

"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, he said.

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 McNabneys.

"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 suicide.

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 McNabney's disappearance.

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.



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