It sounds more like a soap opera plot than a criminal case.
Authorities nationwide are looking for Elisa McNabney, a 35-year-old California woman accused of killing her husband, hiding his body, scooping up at least $500,000, then disappearing in a red Jaguar.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department is seeking McNabney on murder charges in the death of her husband, Larry McNabney, a prominent Sacramento attorney. His adult children from a previous marriage want the woman responsible for their father's death caught and punished.
"We can't have justice. We can't let everything go with our dad until we know that she's been found," his daughter, Tavia McNabney, told Good Morning America.
Wife Gives Excuses For Husband's Absence
Police believe that Larry McNabney was killed sometime after Sept. 10, when friends last saw him attending a Los Angeles County horse show. When his friends and acquaintances asked about his whereabouts, his wife provided a litany of false locations, police said
"That he was in a drug rehab in southern California, that he had moved to Costa Rica, that he had joined a cult in Florida," San Joaquin County Sheriff Baxter Dunn said.
Elisa McNabney was last spotted in January, leaving the couple's Lodi-area home. In February, her husband's body was found buried in a hastily dug grave.
Last week, the FBI issued a federal warrant for Elisa McNabney. Federal authorities said she is using at least a dozen aliases, and has used several Social Security numbers as she fled from police. Police suspect she has altered her appearance and believe she is traveling with her daughter, 17-year-old Haylei Jordan, who they believe has helped her mother flee.
Lethal Dose of Horse Tranquilizer
San Joaquin County detectives said that they believe McNabney killed her husband of six years with a lethal dose of horse tranquilizer sometime after Sept. 10. The tranquilizer was administered orally, officials said.
Then, detectives allege, McNabney refrigerated her dead husband's body for several months, while she set about taking his money and assets. Investigators are examining two veterinary drug kits, one of which was confiscated from the McNabneys' horse trailer, as well as a refrigerator that Elisa McNabney recently gave to a farm worker in exchange for some work.
All told, police believe that Elisa McNabney amassed at least $500,000 by selling her husband's property, cleaning out his trust funds and forging checks at his law practice, where she helped manage the business. The only thing she left behind in the office were the trophies that Larry McNabney had won for his prized collection of quarter horses.
Police say that while she was taking the funds, McNabney also took measures to change her appearance. She dieted, whittling herself down from a size 10 to a size 3, and was attempting to alter her voice.
"She lost well over 30 pounds," Sheriff Dunn said. "She died her hair blonde, added hair extensions and practiced changing her voice."
Police allege that either in late December or in early January, Elisa McNabney buried her husband in a shallow grave in a San Joaquin County vineyard. His body was found clothed in boxer shorts and a T-shirt.
Elisa McNabney is white, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weighs 135 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen driving a red 2001 Jaguar XK8 with a tan top, and an American flag emblem on the license plate frame.