Sheila LaBarre was well known in her New England town – but nobody could imagine what was really happening down on her farm.
It was 20 February 2006 – the last time Carolyn Lodge would hear her son Kenny Countie’s voice.
And he was sobbing down the phone to her.
Before Carolyn could find out why, a woman grabbed the phone from Kenny.
‘He is f*****g 24 years old. Leave him the f*** alone. We’re f*****g happy.’
‘Do you know who you’re talking to?’ asked Carolyn. ‘You’re talking to his mum.’
But the line was dead.
Carolyn was worried. Kenny was 24, but had the IQ of a 12-year-old.
Kenny’s flatmate told Carolyn he’d met an older woman on a telephone chatline. He’d moved to her farm in Epping, New England.
Carolyn called local police.
‘He’s living with a woman called Sheila LaBarre,’ an officer told the worried mum. ‘She often has young men work on her farm. When she tires of them, she phones us to let us know they’ve gone.’
Sinister, thought Carolyn. But she didn’t know the half of it.
The police, like everyone in the town, were terrified of the 48-year-old who kept hundreds of rabbits. They even had a rule that no officer was allowed to go to LaBarre’s farm alone. She’d answer the door in various stages of undress.
The police promised to check on Kenny. When they did, he came to the door to confirm he was OK. But a month later, police officers were making the same trip…
On 23 March, Carolyn called the police, concerned because LaBarre had told her on the phone that Kenny was no longer living with her.
LaBarre also called police on 24 March. Played a tape of her accusing Kenny of raping children. He could be heard saying ‘yes,’ in a soft, muffled voice.
Officers drove to LaBarre’s. Outside lay a burnt mattress and a pile of ashes, a knife handle with a melted blade, garden shears and a smouldering piece of bone with a large ball of flesh on it.
‘It’s a rabbit or a paedophile,’ snapped LaBarre.
They returned with a search warrant the next morning.
‘Where’s Kenny?’ they asked.
She pointed to a carrier bag. ‘He’s in that bag,’ she replied.
Inside, they found bone fragments from a young man in his mid-20s. They found blood splattered through the house and old fire pits and bone fragments around the farm – as well as clothes belonging to Michael Deloge, another man who’d disappeared.
LaBarre insisted her relationship with Kenny ended when he confessed to being a paedophile.
On 4 April 2006 Sheila LaBarre was arrested for murder – the blood splatters in the farm were matched to Kenny Countie and Michael Deloge.
LaBarre admitted murdering them but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Her lawyers said she was mentally unstable.
The trial heard how LaBarre used her sexuality to prey on young men. And that she’d accused both Kenny and Michael of being paedophiles, despite no evidence.
LaBarre’s lawyers argued that, after horrendous childhood abuse, she believed every man in her life was a paedophile, or an incest victim like she was.
But the jury found her guilty of murder and sane at the time of the crimes. LaBarre was sentenced to two life sentences with no possibility of parole.