In February 2002, the discovery of Larry McNabney’s remains in a vineyard in San Joaquin County, California, brought an end to the missing person investigation. But that marked the beginning of the hunt for his wife, who happened to kill him. ABC News’ ‘20/20: Hell in Heels’ chronicles the explosive story of how Larry ended up falling for a con artist who seemed only to want his money. Before his death, Larry was a successful lawyer who was sought after wherever he practiced. So, if you’re curious to find out more about the wealth he amassed, here’s what we know.
How Did Larry McNabney Earn His Money?
Back in the 1980s, Larry McNabney was a courtroom star. He was a talented lawyer who was smart in the way he argued for his clients in court. In the same decade, Larry was at the defense table for two of Nevada’s most high-profile cases — a bombing and extortion plot at a casino and a drug conspiracy trial. His rising stock was ably helped by his TV ads, where the lawyer can be seen riding a horse in the Nevada desert. At the time, Larry drew comparisons to the Marlboro Man.
Described as a brilliant attorney and a natural-born leader, Larry took a break from practicing law for about three years after the drug trial in 1989. Then, he met his future wife, Elisa, in 1995. She had walked into his office for a job, and he immediately hired her as an office manager. Larry’s daughter, Tavia Williams, later said her father “was attracted to her because of her age and the fact that she lays on the charm.” They married within months in January 1996, and at one point, owned houses in Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada.
However, in 1997, Larry lost his bar license after Elisa embezzled more than $70,000 from his clients. Despite that, the pair stayed together and moved to Sacramento, California, where he opened a practice. The McNabney family lived a fine life in a gated community. The business soon picked up there, and Larry hired Sarah Dutra, a part-time legal secretary. During their time together, Elisa had introduced Larry to the world of quarter horses which soon became his passion. He was seen as an up-and-coming star at horse shows around the country.
However, Larry suddenly disappeared at one such horse show in September 2001. Witnesses reported seeing him out of his element; he made a mistake while performing during the competition and then left saying he was ill. Over the next few months, the authorities found out that Elisa was actually Laren Sims, who had a lengthy history of scamming people. She and Sarah poisoned Larry, and months later, his wife buried him in a vineyard. After Larry’s death, Laren sold his horse trailer and truck worth $110,000 and liquified his assets worth around $500,000.
Larry McNabney’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death
Taking into account the affluent attorney’s thriving law practice and the assets Laren sold, Larry McNabney’s net worth at the time of his death is estimated to be close to $1 million.
Read More: How Did Elisa McNabney Die?