Friends, acquaintances, and neighbors all attest that Dr. Wilfred LaBarre was a stand up guy, a good doctor, and a loving father. To this day discussing his death in 2000, at age 74, will spark a spirited debate. The question being, was Sheila LaBarre behind it?
By the Spring of 1987, Dr. LaBarre was a lonely and depressed Chiropractor with a beautiful 115-acre horse farm in Epping, NH. He longed for some companionship after both a failed marriage and a recently deceased wife, according to former friends.
His second wife, Edwina Kolacz, was the love of his life, but she passed on in 1983 from cancer. Described as being a “fancy, beautiful young woman,” her tragic death left Dr. LaBarre defeated and alone.
“His second wife Edie was great and everything went good,” said Louise Harvey, 87, a friend and neighbor. “She had a tumor in her stomach and the went down to Mexico to try to treat it. But, she passed after about three years. It’s too bad because if Edie had lived Dr. LaBarre wouldn’t have been looking for Sheila, and who knows.”
Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Instead, Dr. LaBarre searched for love by placing a personal advertisement in a magazine, according to Harvey and other sources. His ad was answered by Sheila Bailey Jennings, a beautiful 27-year old, and she quickly moved from Alabama to Epping, NH., taking on the LaBarre last name.
“She assumed Dr. LaBarre’s name when she really had no legal right to do so because it was not a common law marriage,” said Epping Police Chief, Greg Dodge. “There is no common law marriage in New Hampshire, unless someone dies.”
It made sense when Sheila LaBarre moved in because Dr. LaBarre was looking for a female roommate and he needed help maintaining the horse farm.
“When Sheila moved in it wasn’t that much of a shock,” said neighbor Erica Harvey. “Doc had other girlfriends but he was lonely. Anyways, Sheila ran all the other girls off.”
For about 13 years they shared a roof together, but the relationship was anything but peaceful or faithful. Dodge recalls Sheila having many boyfriends, and the police were constantly over breaking up different domestic disputes.
“You could hear her and Doc all the time arguing from here and I’m not even that close to her,” said Bruce Allen, the closest neighbor. “But, ya sometimes you’d hear gunshots and her screaming, ‘I’m going to kill you, you motherf*****.”
Allen and Louise Harvey both remember one especially violent episode that forced Dr. LaBarre to spend the night sleeping in the nearby apple orchard. Sheila LaBarre used a gun to drive him out of the house, even shooting at him while he hid behind a boulder, according to Allen.
“I was on my way to church in the morning when I saw Doc walking down asking if I could drive him home,” Louise Harvey said. “He had me drop him off at the end of his driveway. He was scared for life.”
According to Louise’s husband, Daniel Harvey, 92, he had good reason to be.
“One of the men she married, Wayne Ennis, told me that Sheila wanted him to kill the doctor so they could have the farm together,” said Daniel Harvey. “So she must’ve had an evil mind.” (Full story from Ennis)
Dr. LaBarre desperately wanted her out of his life, but she wasn’t going anywhere.
“Doc would always say, ‘I got to get rid of her somehow,” said Allen. “He’d say, ‘I’ll send her back to Alabama and hope she’ll stay there.”
She never left and on December 2, 2000, Dr. LaBarre passed away from heart failure.
“The heart autopsy showed that he died of significant heart disease,” said Dodge. “And he was pretty old, so she probably didn’t do it. The body was then incinerated after two or three days.”
Bruce Allen see’s it differently. Listen below to hear how he found the body and a conversation he had with Sheila LaBarre about poisoning people.
Sheila LaBarre took sole ownership of the Epping farm, the Hampton Chiropractor office, two Somersworth apartments and a Portsmouth house. According to Dodge the inheritance valued at about $2 million.
“Dr. LaBarre died and she assumed the property,” said Dodge. “There was some fighting between her and other family members over the property, but she had already manipulated Dr. LaBarre to leave it to her. So he died, and she inherited it legally.”
In May of 2009, the Epping property was auctioned off and sold to East Kingston Attorney Keri Marshall for $600,000, according to Allen. (Read about it here)
Below, Allen describes how Sheila LaBarre could have illegally changed Dr. LaBarre’s will, due to the discovery of a copy of the will underneath a floorboard in recent years.
Last Tuesday, November 27, 2012, I mailed Sheila LaBarre a letter, but unfortunately I sent it to the wrong address, not realizing she had switched prisons. This Tuesday, I mailed LaBarre again at the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Fla., her current address, according to this Union Leader story. I’m waiting and hoping she writes back.
Dear Sheila LaBarre,
Hello, you don’t know me, but my name is Steven Robert, and I once lived down the road from you on Fox Ridge Rd. Anyways, these last four weeks I have been reading all about you and talking to the people who once knew you. People like the Harvey’s, Bennetts, Bruce Allen, and Police Chief Greg Dodge. With their stories and others, I created an online blog entirely about you for my Digital Journalism class at the University of New Hampshire. If you’re curious about what your neighbors and other acquaintances have to say about you, I hope you get the opportunity to check it out at, labarremurders.wordpress.com You may even be surprised by some of the positive things people said, though no one condones the crimes you’ve committed.
I hope you’re making the most of your time in prison and reflecting on the mistakes you’ve made. I would truly appreciate it if you could write me back and discuss what led you to commit murder. I want to hear all about your time in Epping and your relationships with Dr. LaBarre, Mike Deloge, and Kenneth Countie. Like everyone else, I want to know who those unidentified human remains belong to. There’s no excuse for your crimes, but I think an apology and an explanation would mean a lot to the people you hurt and let down. Think of this as an opportunity to have your voice heard, as I will publish your response online for the world to see.
Here are four different people’s stories of Sheila LaBarre’s often erratic behavior.
On Monday, March 20, 2006, Sheila LaBarre arrived at the Bennett residence to pay Michele Bennett’s son, Kerc Bennett, 28, for some work he had done cleaning out a Somersworth apartment, after some tenants had failed to pay LaBarre rent.
That night, Michele Bennett saw Kenneth Countie in the backseat of LaBarre’s car, little did she know that it would be the last time she saw him. In fact, it was the last time anyone outside of LaBarre would see Countie again. She recalls being shocked that LaBarre hadn’t invited him inside to escape the cold.
“I didn’t realize that he was being abused and that’s why she was keeping him in the car,” said Michele Bennett. “She didn’t want to expose his injuries to the bright light.”
In the dark it was difficult to see much, but she noticed him wearing an over sized coat and a hat. Also, saying he looked a little “beat up” with some bruising on his face.
“I couldn’t see much, but from the look I got he didn’t look well,” Michele Bennett said. “He was scary looking to be honest.”
Kerc Bennet recounted his own strange encounters with LaBarre.
“Sheila was bizarre,” said Kerc Bennett. “I had never met anyone like that in my entire life. She wasn’t dumb, but she was crafty in an evil, devious way. She will be made into a movie someday.”
He recalled one creepy experience after a day of working for her.
“The last time I worked for her I got creeped out because she was showing me her gun collection,” he said. “I did get a little scared. It was this little, it’s dark outside and I don’t know if my family knows where I am feeling.”
LaBarre’s Neighbor, Bonnie Meroth didn’t know LaBarre well, but remembers her as a dangerous woman who threatened her life and almost ran her over.
Meroth wasn’t surprised to learn her neighbor was a serial killer.
“I actually said, ‘I’m afraid she’s down there killing these young men because nobody would ever see them again,” said Meroth. “So of course I’m thinking, what is she doing with them?”
Bruce Allen is the only neighbor who shares the dirt, dead end roadway with LaBarre and has many stories that would make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. A lifelong farmer, in his mid 50′s, he welcomed me into his modest farm house with a friendly smile. Once we sat down his demeanor got serious. Recalling LaBarre becoming more aggressive as time went by, to the point he would jump in the bushes and hide if he saw her coming.
Deep in thought, Allen rubbed his hands over his face, closed his eyes, and reflected about a time he saw Deloge walk by.
“One day in the winter time, after we had just got some snow, I saw him pass the driveway walking real slow and he kept going,” said Allen. “So on the way back I saw him again, and said, ‘hey Mike what’s up, do you want a ride home?”
Deloge was in bad shape.
“His coat was ripped and you could see he’d been slashed across his face,” said Allen. “It was bad. His ear was bleeding like crazy, and his lip was bleeding too. So I ask him what happened, and he’d go ‘oh it’s Sheila,” I figured as much, but there was nothing I could really do.”
On another occasion, maybe a year or so later, Allen remembers a dangerous LaBarre with a gun threatening to shoot some hunters who were looking for a deer they thought they’d shot with a bow. Listen to that story below.
Sheila LaBarre had to justify murder, believing that, “She was an angel, who had come back to life to rid the world of pedophiles,” according to Kevin Flynn, in his book “Wicked Intentions.”
She’d get it in her head that the young men who lived and worked on her farm had these repulsive sexual issues, starting with child molestation, but including incest and bestiality. LaBarre’s sister, Lynn Noojin took the stand to testify that LaBarre’s obsessions with sex may have all started with the sexual abuse she received from her father, according to Michael Benson, author of “The Burn Farm.” The “Portsmouth Herald,” wrote about all the graphic sex stories from the book here.
“She called Kenny Countie a pedophile,” said Epping’s Chief of Police, Greg Dodge. “I think it was her M.O. (method of operation) that she was going to rid the world of all of these pedophiles, and when these people would admit to being involved in that kind of stuff she would use that as an excuse to torture and or kill them.”
For Kenneth Countie and Mike Deloge it was a death sentence. She’d torture them into saying these things, record them, and then tell the police, according to Dodge.
Closest neighbor Bruce Allen, remembers LaBarre calling them pedophiles. He liked Deloge, looks back at him as being “a good guy,” but with Countie, the police said stay away.
“Oh yeah with both Mike and Kenneth, she’d say they’re pedophiles and they’re both no good,” said Allen. “I always stayed away from Kenny because the cops would tell me that he was trouble. So I avoided him and her, but it’s hard on a dead end road. So I’d always see them coming and going.”
After Deloge mysteriously vanished, Allen was curious.
“I asked where Mike went, and all she said was she finally got rid of him and sent him back home,” said Allen. “But you wouldn’t think anything of that would you? When really, she put him in a septic tank, and he was a pedophile according to Sheila.”
On Friday, the same day that the police first discovered human bones at LaBarre’s farm, Delaine Bennett experienced one of the strangest conversations of her life after LaBarre showed up to pick up her boombox. Once inside, Delaine Bennett remembers a conversation that she had tried to block out for years.
“She just started going off about all sorts of things,” Delaine Bennett said. ”First she’s talking about how she wouldn’t go to her mom or sisters funeral because they’re jealous of her. She’s like they’re jealous of my looks, they’re jealous of my intelligence, my money, and they’re jealous because of my gift.”
Both curious and confused, Delaine Bennet played along, humoring Sheila LaBarre as she talked in circles.
“She’s like I can move things with my mind and read people’s minds,” she said . “She claimed she had psychic powers.”
Somehow the conversation jumped from dark magic and ghosts to Sheila LaBarre’s childhood, when she was molested by her father. Finally, circling back to her current boyfriend Kenneth Countie and his sexual problems.
“She was saying that when they first started dating it was all normal and he seemed like a really nice guy,” continued Delaine Bennett. “Then saying that he recently started opening up to her about some problems that he’s had sexually and he wanted to confess it to her.”
Those problems included…
“She was saying that he just wanted to get everything out and be like completely honest with her,” she continued. “Saying that he was into bestiality and that he even said something about him molesting a child.”
At the time Delaine Bennett believed what LaBarre was saying, as she had never met the guy. But looking back she sees it differently.
“She was trying to get us to believe that she was the victim and that he actually had admitted to all of these obscene sex acts,” she said.
“She was trying to get us on her side to back her up, and to use us as a type of alibi.”
Later that night, as mentioned in a previous story, “Search for Countie leads Police to Human Bones,” below, LaBarre famously made the comment that the bone the police found either belonged to a “rabbit or a pedophile.” In this video, Dr. Malcolm Rogers explains LaBarre’s state of mind.
Sheila LaBarre’s murders case remains an open investigation because of human remains found on the property that indicate a third victim, according to Police Chief, Greg Dodge.
“We found fragments of bodies that weren’t from (Mike) Deloge or (Kenneth) Countie, and to this day they’re unidentified,” said Dodge.
One theory, speculated by those who knew LaBarre, is that they belong to an Irish boyfriend she had around the time she was finally caught and arrested.
“She had mentioned an Irish immigrant that was bothering her,” said Dodge. “But we have no name and no identity of who he could be.”
Michele Bennett, an acquaintance of LaBarre’s, confidently agrees that the Irish man is the top suspect. She remembers LaBarre ranting about a former Irish boyfriend, who she feared was after her life.
“I hate to tell you, but you know the toes that nobody knows who they belong to?” asked Bennett. “It’s this poor Irish guy, I swear to God. I think her killing got worse as she got older.”
Bennett knows it’s only a theory, but she clearly remembers hearing about this Irish man who begged for help while on date with LaBarre, at the Ashworth by the Sea in Hampton.
“This woman that I know, her mother was there, and said that there was this Irish guy who started pleading for his life,” Bennett said. “He was saying, ‘Please help me. She’s going to hurt me. Could you please call the police?”
Neither Bennett nor her associate have a name, but as the story goes, the police were called.
“Yes, they called the police and she was so overbearing that she called back the police,” said Bennett. “Somehow she (LaBarre) found out who had called the police on her, and called her up to threaten her over the phone.”
For all of Sheila LaBarre’s flaws, and the common belief that she was “a little off.” Many residents in the Epping community also saw another side of her, one that was both nice and intelligent.
Longtime neighbor and family friend to the LaBarre’s, Erica Harvey recalls her first perception of Sheila LaBarre back in the late 1980′s. At that time, she was a woman more concerned with running her “common-law” husband’s Chiropractor business than harming others.
“When Sheila came she started to manage Dr. LaBarre’s office in Hampton and she got along with everyone,” said Harvey. “She wanted to run it right so that Doc would make some money.”
Beautiful, young, and for the most part likable, Sheila LaBarre seemed to a be a complete package.
“She would fly past the farm in her Mercedes sports car, and all the men would say “WOW,” said Harvey. “When she first came all the men were jealous of Doc. She was a beautiful flirt with all the men, and with us females, she was always polite and respectful. She especially treasured my parents. She would get veggies at the farm and my mother would grow her acid free tomatoes. She would visit my folks and get advice, or just tell them stuff.”
Erika Harvey’s parents, Daniel, 92, and Louise Harvey, 87, didn’t know their neighbor, Sheila LaBarre, as the evil serial killer she truly was. She was friendly, always coming by to chat and pick up fresh vegetables. They’d even get together for different holidays like New Years and The Fourth of July, which also happened to be Sheila LaBarre’s birthday.
“She was tall, with long hair and beautiful,” described Louise Harvey. “But Sheila? I liked her. She was a good neighbor… She’d come over and buy yellow tomatoes that I grew for her. I still grow them for Sheila, and if I knew where she was, I’d send them to her.”
Sheila LaBarre was a different person around the Harvey’s who she respected so much. Kind and courteous, they didn’t really see the evil side that they heard so much about. It was them who Sheila trusted the most.
“Once she stopped here to tell us that if anything happened to her that we should call and notify her sister down in Alabama,” said Daniel Harvey. “This was before anything happened.”
Bruce Allen still lives in the house closest to what was Sheila Labarre’s farm house, and though their relationship soured over time, some pleasant memories still come to mind.
“At times she could be really nice, a good neighbor,” said Allen. “We’d take care of the hay for her, with my son and some of his friends, and she’d have a big picnic for us.”
Michele Bennett, an acquaintance of Sheila LaBarre’s for about four years, also didn’t immediately see her devious other side. After Bennett’s oldest son Mark Kenworthy, 32, first started working at the LaBarre farm, she would sometimes call the house looking for him. Bennett, heard she had a big horse farm and took her young daughter Danielle Bennett over to see it.
“Oh yeah, she was very nice, sometimes even too nice,” said Michele Bennett. “So we went over there, and she whistled and started yelling ‘come on little babies.’ And they all (the horses) came up over the hill. We stood back out of the way, and they all went into their stalls. She sure had her horses trained well.”
Danielle Bennett, 20, and her older sister Delaine Bennett, 26 also saw LaBarre’s friendly side.
“I thought she was nice,” Danielle Bennett said. ”She gave me ten dollars and cooked me eggs for dinner one time.”
“She was really nice and even helped Mark (Kenworthy, her older brother) get out of some legal trouble,” Delaine Bennett said. ”There were some things that made us think she was kind of nice, but overall we also just thought she was crazy.”
Erica Harvey can remember LaBarre’s personality and appearance going through some drastic changes after Dr. Wilferd LaBarre passed away in 2000. Leaving Sheila LaBarre with money, time and a farmhouse that needed upkeep.
“After his death, she lived high until the money was gone,” said Erica Harvey. “And then she really changed. Not keeping herself up, and taking in odd jobs. She gained a lot of weight and didn’t wear a bra even.”
“As time went on she was nice sometimes and nasty others,” continued Erica Harvey. “If she had trouble with the animals she would always ask us for help. She would have silly problems too. I remember her racing around the neighborhood looking for her collie dog, because she ran away and the dog hadn’t ‘had intercourse’ yet.”
Epping’s Police Chief, Greg Dodge got to know Sheila LaBarre more than he would’ve liked over her 19 years in Epping. She would call the police on a weekly basis to complain about one thing or another, and had a certain fondness towards Dodge.
“She thought I was her advocate first,” said Dodge. ”Mostly because I would listen to her if she had a problem. I’m one of those guys that likes to listen, and I took an interest in her problems, but I would do that with anybody.”
While she was a nuisance, she wasn’t unpleasant.
“She was forthcoming and provocative,” Dodge continued. “She had a nice personality, but it was just over bearing and over the top.”
Local Epping farmer, Bill Ellison also weighed in. He had only met LaBarre a few times in passing, but he doesn’t think she deserves to be locked up.
“They ought to let her out and let her enjoy her life,” he said.
According to these records, kept by the Epping police, which were used in the court case of, “The STATE of New Hampshire v. Sheila K. LABARRE,” the following happened.
Following a disturbing phone call at 1 a.m., the Epping Police paid LaBarre’s farm a visit at 6 p.m., on Friday, March 24. Officers Sean Gallagher and Richard Cote arrived to an empty house where they found multiple burn piles and a charred mattress outside. In one burn barrel, the officers saw what appeared to be a human bone with a hunk of flesh on it.
LaBarre returned to her farmhouse surprised to see the police. She was accompanied by Michele Bennett, who knew LaBarre because her two sons had worked for her. LaBarre had been treating Bennett’s dying dog and suddenly found herself at the wrong place, wrong time. She told Bennett to wait in the truck, while she dealt with the police, according to Bennett.
“I was petrified,” said Bennett. “I didn’t want to have anything to do with her.”
LaBarre had been over the Bennett’s house treating the dog everyday that week. Her suspicions of LaBarre were also growing day by day. On Friday, Bennett recalls LaBarre’s conversation bouncing all over the place. She ranted about Countie being an incestuous pedophile, even saying he was into bestiality.
“This was when I was thinking there was something wrong, because she hadn’t been crazy like this all the other days,” said Bennett. “By the time this day came, everything stated changing. I’m thinking maybe this woman is nuts, and why is she talking about all these things?”
Bennett stayed in the truck and observed from a distance.
The police received permission to conduct a “well being check,” and the officers were welcomed by LaBarre into the farmhouse. The police finished their inside tour, but were told they couldn’t take anything. Once outside, Cote questioned LaBarre about the bone, which she said was from “either a rabbit or a pedophile.” LaBarre refused to let them take the bone and asked them to leave.
All the while, Bennett’s mind raced over what she should do.
“I was scared out of mind and thought about jumping out of the truck and going down to the Harvey’s,” said Bennett. “Then I was worried not to get out of the truck because maybe there was someone out there who wanted Sheila. I had a million thoughts going through my mind.”
After waiting in the truck for almost an hour, LaBarre returned to the truck for Bennett and her groceries.
“I brought in the groceries with her, and I asked her, ‘what’s going on? why are the cops here?” said Bennett. “So she says shush, I got to think.”
Bennett went to the kitchen and helped her put the groceries away. She finally asked again what she was hiding? Bennett’s initial thought was she must have drugs in the house.
“So she starts laughing and said, ‘ Don’t be silly, I don’t have any drugs in here,” said Bennett. “And then she said it was my boyfriend. I was thinking what boyfriend, the Irish guy? Then she said they’re looking for Kenneth. So I just put away the groceries and told her I want to go home.”
A frantic LaBarre spent the night covering her tracks.
“I think that she was up all night hiding evidence or tampering with evidence,” said Dodge. “But she had sorted through the fire and picked out fragments like bones and teeth and she had them in a Walmart bag.”
The following day, Gallagher obtained a permit to search the house’s exterior. The police seized a few items for physical evidence, but were forced to fight LaBarre in court about the legality of their searches and seizures.
On Sunday, March 26, the police received more permits to search the entirety of the property. After finding Countie’s teeth, blood, and bones there was enough evidence to charge LaBarre with murder.
“At the time, the crime scene was the largest and longest in the history of the state,” said Dodge.
An arrest warrant was issued on March 31, but LaBarre had already eluded the police tail, and left town.
“We were trying to build a case against her,” said Dodge. “In any murder case in New Hampshire, the Attorney General’s office takes over. We put a tail on Sheila to watch her, but it wasn’t time to make the arrest.”
LaBarre was arrested and put into custody on April 2, in Revere, Massachusetts.