She had Southern charm, and at one point even competed in a beauty pageant. But there was definitely two sides to Sheila LaBarre.

Those who know Sheila LaBarre say she is very smart and has a way of winning over just about any man. Unfortunately police say that charm allowed her to lure several men to her house of horrors.

Epping, New Hampshire, is a picturesque small town known for its historic architecture, sprawling farms, and friendly neighbors. But even small towns hide big secrets. Or maybe not so secret.

Just whose remains are burning in a front yard fire pit, and is the woman who lives there a gold-digger, or a gravedigger?

It all begins, when the city of Epping's population of nearly 7,000 increases by one: her name is Sheila Jennings.

"Her nickname growing up was 'firecracker' because she was born on July 4th, and that's a nickname that suited her personality," said Kevin Flynn, author of Wicked Intentions: The Sheila LaBarre Murders.

And this beautiful young woman was looking to strike gold.

"Sheila answered a personal ad from Dr. Wilfred LaBarre," said New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti.

Dr. Wilfred LaBarre is a prominent chiropractor who is well-liked in the community, and rich. He owns one of the largest and most sought-after pieces of real estate in the area, a 115-acre horse farm.

The only thing Dr. LaBarre is missing is companionship. Sheila Jennings, who is 34 years younger, is more than happy to fill that void. Sheila offers up affection, adoration and sexy nude photo shoots.

"I think he got swept up by her youth and beauty and invited her into his life, and then she took it over," said Boffetti.

In no time, Sheila moves into the farmhouse and makes herself right at home. And she demands that everyone around town call her "Mrs. LaBarre." They were not legally married.

But it seems as though Sheila wants more than the good doctor's name. Reporter turned author Kevin Flynn says Sheila was ready to fight for what was his.

"Sheila had power of attorney over Dr. LaBarre, even though they were never married," said Flynn. "They did not have a legal marriage, they had a common law marriage. But he never gave her his name, she just took it."

And eventually she took everything Dr. LaBarre owned, when he suddenly passes away of a heart attack.

Sheila LaBarre is now rich and single and ready to mingle. And it doesn't take her long before she meets Kenneth Countie on a dating site. He's half Sheila's age.

"They drank and they ended up having sex in her car at her house in Epping," said Boffetti. "She does everything she can to isolate him from his parents, and is successful in doing that."

When Kenneth's mother hasn't heard from her son in weeks, she files a missing-person report with the authorities in Massachusetts.

"I looked at the bulletin and it said this gentleman is missing, was picked up from a woman with a 'S' first name from New Hampshire driving a black Cadillac," said Epping Police Sgt. Richard Cote.

"So we drive down there, bang on the door, Kenny came out, he was fine, and he wanted to be there, so as far as missing persons go, he's an adult and he's found," said Cote.

Kenneth's mother receives the news that her son has been located, but she is hardly relieved. Her son is developmentally disabled, with the IQ of a 12-year-old. But authorities' hands are tied since Kenneth is legally an adult.

Later, they run into Kenny at a Walmart store.

"He had some bruising. He looks a little bit ashen in color and he's in a Walmart wheelchair, and I asked him several times if he was OK and if everything was all right, and he refused to talk to us," said Epping Police Detective Sean Gallagher.

Kenny Countie shopping cart
Epping Police
Kenneth Countie

On their way out, detectives take note of Sheila's purchase: several empty gas containers. She is stacking them on Kenneth as he sits in the wheelchair.

Just five days later, Detective Gallagher receives a bizarre phone call from Sheila.

"She said that she wanted us to know that Kenny left, and that he was a pedophile, and she was going to play a tape for me that would prove he was a pedophile," said Gallagher. "I told her to play the tape.

"And then I heard Sheila say 'Why are you throwing up, stop throwing up,' and I didn't hear Kenneth talking anymore, but then I heard her say 'Why are you passing out? Why did you pass out?'" said Gallagher.

Detective Gallagher doesn't know what to make of the disturbing recording, but when Kenneth's mother confirms that her son has not returned home, he knows something horrific is going on at the LaBarre farmhouse.

"It's probably around 6 o'clock at night, so it's dusk," said Cote. "We showed up, there was a burn pile and I kinda moved it a little bit and I looked down and I saw a piece of flesh."

"There was a bone," said Gallagher. "If I had to make a guess I would say it was maybe an upper arm and shoulder area."

The detectives have seen enough.

"We went up to the house and as soon as I kick the door in, it opened up. We heard a woman's voice yell from the driveway," said Gallagher. "It was Sheila."

Sheila allows detectives inside the house. Kenneth isn't there, and the once-beautiful home of Dr. Wilfred LaBarre is in ruins.

"The house is filthy, there's rabbits running around everywhere. It stinks, there's rotten food in sink," said Cote. "I see that there's a pair of his shoes, and I said 'Well, there's his shoes.' She said 'Those're his shoes, I bought him new shoes.' I knew she had because I saw him in a brand new pair of shoes, and later on we get to the basement door, and there are the new shoes at bottom of the basement. So I said 'There's his new shoes, there's his old shoes, what's he wearing?' And she couldn't explain it."

Before they can question Sheila about the flesh and bones in the burn pile, she asks them to get off her property. Without a search warrant, they have no choice but to leave.

"We were not happy," said Gallagher. "We both knew there was more to the story than this and we both had a belief at that point in time that what we saw in the burn pile may be the remains of Kenneth Countie."

The next morning, detectives are back with a search warrant.

"She was covered in ashes because she had been kneeling by the burn pile that we had seen the night before, and she was sifting through it," said Gallagher. "We never found the bone that myself and Rich Cote originally saw."

Authorities recover several tiny bone fragments which appear to be human.

The house, barn, and 115 acres of horse farm are now an official crime scene, making it the largest in New Hampshire state history. Hundreds of state police, local police, and the major crime unit swarm the property.

Inside, no longer a farmhouse, now a madhouse -- Investigators find hundreds of rabbits running wild in the house and what appears to be human blood splatter in multiple rooms.

But when crime investigators flush the septic system they make a discovery: a birth certificate bearing the name Michael Deloge.

"She had flushed down the toilet his birth certificate and some other evidence," said James Boffetti. "That's how we even knew about Mike Deloge, because there was no report about him missing. And they began to say 'Who is Mike Deloge?'"

There are no reports of Deloge missing because no one knew he was missing. Deloge is estranged from his family and staying at a homeless shelter at the time he met Sheila.

"Here's a guy who's down on his luck, this woman comes along and says 'My husband died, I have this big farm, I need someone to help me take care of it,'" said Flynn. "He would come over and they have sex and there was food on the table and it's like, 'Why would I go back to a homeless shelter?'"

Police wonder if more bodies will be discovered on this 115-acre horse ranch, and if they have a serial killer on their hands.

"You tend to think of Epping as being a small town," said Flynn. "What does that mean, a small town, where everybody knows what everybody else is up to, everybody is watching everybody. So you would think that people couldn't just come to a farm like this and disappear."

Eyewitnesses start to come forward, placing Michael Deloge at the LaBarre horse ranch.

"The most telling story is that when Michael was living here in the middle of winter, people saw Michael stumble down this long road in the middle of snow bleeding from the forehead, and when somebody stopped to ask him what happened, he just kept going and said one word, 'Sheila,'" said Flynn.

While police wait on DNA results to come in, Sheila remains a free woman.

"She was supposed to be under watch by somebody, I don't know, someone was supposed to be following her and she somehow got away and she ended up down in Massachusetts," said Cote.

Sheila dyes her hair bright red, withdraws thousands in cash, and packs up her most prized possessions: her rabbits.

While on the run, DNA results from the fire pit come in: The remains belong to Kenneth Countie. Sheila is charged with murder. Now police just need to find her.

"To know that there's a murderer that has now slipped away from us and we don't know where she is and she's not scared to carry a weapon, she's carried guns," said Cote.

Now 30 miles away in Manchester, Sheila realizes she may need to unload her precious cargo. She stops by a pet store and asks to people inside if they would watch her bunnies for a couple days. The people agree and even invite Sheila to stay with them for the night.

"And it was at that time she was in these people's living room and playing with the rabbits, the 11 o'clock news comes on and there's the story about a man missing in Epping," said Flynn.

Sheila's cover is blown. She's arrested and extradited back to New Hampshire, where she's grilled by the cops.

Then traces of DNA evidence are recovered from inside the farmhouse: It's Michael Deloge.

"His body was never recovered," said Boffetti. "It's fair to assume she did the same thing to his body that she did to Kenneth Countie's body."

Now, Sheila officially faces two counts of murder. Then Sheila shocks the court: She admits to killing both victims.

Sheila claims she's killed Kenneth and Michael, claiming they were pedophiles and deserved to die. She even recorded these so-called confessions.

"There's a video actually of Mike Deloge that she shot," said Boffetti. "We played it for jury where she's trying to get him to admit that he was a pedophile and did horrible things. There were audio recordings with Kenneth Countie where she was trying to force him to admit that he did all kinds of horrible things."

Sheila's defense teams says their client was insane at the time of the killings.

"She felt like she was this avenging angel, that she is there to be a protector, a champion for victims, without realizing the irony that she is victimizing people," said Flynn.

After five weeks of testimony, she is found guilty on two counts of murder.

"What the defense offered was just psychobabble about her mental state," said Boffetti. "It was calculated and it was deliberate and it was horrific."

Sheila LaBarre is now serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

"In my opinion she is a violent predator," said Boffetti. "She's a black widow who really preyed on vulnerable men. And the torture and the violence and the abuse at her hands was just unspeakable."

And what happened in this house of horrors in the small town of Epping won't soon be forgotten.

"People started realizing that even in small town where everything is nice and beautiful and everyone knows each other, that we can still have a horror going on in someone's home that you don't know about," said Cote.

But there's one last question: Is Sheila LaBarre a serial killer?

"Not yet. She'd need one more victim to be a serial killer," said Cote.

But this case may not be over. Months after Sheila LaBarre is locked away, police find a set of toes near the horse ranch barn, and they don't belong to Kenneth Countie or Michael Deloge.

Are there possibly other victims out there?

"Yes," said Cote. "If she met a homeless guy in New York City and took him home and killed him, we would never know. She was using every and all means of disposal."

As for the question of if Sheila LaBarre has more victims: The lead prosecutor in the case says that was always a concern. That's because during the investigation several people came forward to say they knew other men who had stayed at the house. Officers also found hundreds of audio cassettes of her speaking to men on chat lines.

Comments