Sarah Dutra: Laren Sims’ Friend Now Leads a Quiet Life

Image Credit: The Record

Larry McNabney’s sudden disappearance in September 2001 wasn’t really looked into until a few months later. The authorities then uncovered a string of lies and deception involving his wife, Elisa. In due time, they learned that Elisa was, in fact, a con woman named Laren Sims who had an extensive criminal history. While Laren confessed to killing her husband, she also implicated Sarah Dutra, her good friend and the secretary at Larry’s office. ABC News’ ‘20/20: Hell in Heels’ focuses on the case and shines a light on Sarah’s ensuing trial. If you’re wondering what happened to her since then, here’s what we know.

Who is Sarah Dutra?

Sarah Dutra was a student at California State University in Sacramento studying art. She met Larry and Laren (known as Elisa) in 2000 when she responded to an ad for a part-time legal secretary at Larry’s law office. She then became good friends with her boss’ partner and even came along with the couple to the horse shows they attended. As if that’s not enough, the two women also shopped together a lot, buying expensive apparel and dressing alike as well.

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However, things turned upside down once Laren was arrested for her husband’s murder as a confession revealed precisely what’d happened to him and how Sarah was involved. Laren actually claimed that she helped poison Larry while attending a horse show in September 2001. Then, the two drove around to find a place to bury him. They eventually went to Yosemite National Park in California, where the former said that Sarah began to dig a hole. Yet, since Larry was still alive, they drove back home.

After Larry died the next day, they put him in the refrigerator in the garage. Apart from wrapping the body in duct tape, they also wrapped the fridge to keep it closed. During the time after that, Laren and Sarah cooked up elaborate cover stories to explain away Larry’s disappearance. At one point, they even invited Larry’s son to the house for a party while the body was still in the garage.

Upon Laren’s confession, even Sarah implicated herself in the murder. However, she asserted she’d left the show, only to return when her boss’ wife called her saying her husband was severely ill. But Sarah admitted knowing about the poisoning and said she dug a grave. Furthermore, she alleged that Laren threatened to kill her if she didn’t help move the body to the refrigerator. Yet, at her trial in early 2003, Laren’s daughter, Haylei, testified that Sarah showed no signs she was afraid of Larry’s wife. The prosecution stated that Laren and Sarah forged Larry’s sign-on checks for money and sold all his valuables as well.

Where is Sarah Dutra Now?

The defense brought attention to Sarah Dutra’s clean record and said Laren manipulated her into helping with the murder. They also said their client was interviewed through the night and hadn’t been advised of her right to remain silent. As for the prosecution, they stated that Sarah was drawn in by the glamorous lifestyle that Laren led and the money Larry made, which became her motive. Therefore, in the end, she was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter as well as being an accessory to murder in March 2003. Subsequently, in her early 20s, she was handed down a sentence  of 11 years and eight months in prison.

Image Credit: The Record

While behind bars, Sarah reportedly continued painting and honed her skills as an artist. Then, upon serving about 85% of her sentence, she was released from prison during the early hours of August 26, 2011. Post-release, she had to serve three years on parole in Solano County, California, where her parents lived. Since then, she has preferred to maintain a low profile, meaning not much is known about precisely what she currently does or where she resides. All we know is that she’s likely doing her best to move on from the past at the moment.

Read More: Where is Laren Sims’ Daughter Haylei Jordan Now?