Elisa Barasch: How Did the Killer Die?

The discovery of Larry McNabney’s dead body in a vineyard in 2002 led the authorities to find out some disturbing secrets about his wife, Elisa. For starters, that wasn’t even her real name. ABC News’ ‘20/20: Hell in Heels’ focuses on how Laren Sims became Elisa Barasch when she met Larry, eventually killing him for what were believed to be financial gains. So, if you’re curious about how Larry met Laren and what happened after, we’ve got you covered.

Laren Sims/Elisa Barasch Met Larry McNabney in 1995

Laren Renee Sims was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1967. She grew up in Florida with three other siblings, and by all means, had a normal childhood. However, despite being at the top of her class, Laren dropped out of high school before graduating. She got married as a teenager, and over the next few years, she had a son and a daughter with two different partners. Then, Laren began living her life deceiving and stealing from others.

Image Credit: MSNBC

By the time Laren met Larry, she had done prison time and had used multiple fake names. In the early 90s, Laren cut off her ankle monitor and ended up in Las Vegas, Nevada. While in Sin City, she walked into Larry’s law office and introduced herself as Elisa Barasch, demanding a job in 1995. Barasch was actually the name of her cellmate in Florida. At the time, Laren was behind bars for violating parole for grand theft and fraud.

Larry hired her as the office manager, and despite the almost 17-year age difference, they began dating soon after. The couple married in January 1996. But trouble started the very next year when Larry lost his license to practice in Nevada. It turned out that Laren had embezzled more than $70,000 from her husband’s clients. But surprisingly, Larry continued to be with her, moving to Sacramento, California, to open an office there instead.

Elisa McNabney Died by Suicide

After Larry McNabney’s marriage to Laren, his loved ones felt she tried to keep Larry away from them. His life changed for the worse. According to Larry’s daughter, her father began using drugs and alcohol because of the lifestyle Laren pulled him back into. Then, he was last seen in September 2001 at a horse show in Los Angeles County, California. Witnesses reported Laren wheeling him out in a wheelchair. After that, Larry was a no-show everywhere, but Laren kept up appearances.

Laren came up with various stories about where Larry was and conducted business at the firm, even spending settlement money from clients. Eventually, the authorities began looking into Larry’s disappearance and realized that Laren had cleaned his office and sold his assets. But at that point, they only knew her as Elisa. When the police did find documentation regarding Laren’s aliases and discovered her true identity, they believed she had something to do with Larry’s disappearance.

The police also realized that she had outstanding warrants in other states for different non-violent charges. In February 2002, his remains were found buried in a shallow grave at a vineyard in San Joaquin County, California. By then, Laren was in the wind, but the authorities tracked her down to Destin, Florida, where she was living with her teenage daughter, Haylei Jordan. Laren was then going by a different name and had been working two jobs as a waitress and a clerk. When the police went up to her, Laren was calm and said, “I’m the one you’re looking for.”

Laren then penned a three-page confession, admitting to poisoning Larry with horse tranquilizers, but in a surprise, she implicated another employee from the law office, Sarah Dutra. According to Laren’s confession, both were involved in poisoning Larry. The duo then searched for a place to bury the body before taking it back home to Lodi, California. Larry was wrapped in plastic and duct tape and placed in a refrigerator there. Laren then buried her husband in the vineyard in December 2001.

Laren’s behavior shocked many because, at one point, she even planned a surprise birthday party for Larry (born in December 1948), inviting his loved ones before canceling last minute. He had been dead for months by then. During the early morning hours of March 30, 2002, Laren was found hanging from a bedsheet in her Florida jail cell; she died the following day. The 36-year-old had been awaiting extradition to California at the time. In a suicide note, she asked her lawyer to sue the Hernando County Jail for allowing the suicide to happen. However, the authorities believed Laren planned it well because she was in the medical unit, and an investigation confirmed officers checked on her every 15 minutes.

Read More: Where is Haylei Jordan Now?