EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 26, 2006

Details revealed in murder case against Sheila LaBarre

GOFFSTOWN | Kenneth Countie's mother was already worried about her mentally retarded son before police learned of a disturbing sighting at Wal-Mart.

Store employees working March 17 noticed the gashes on his face and arms and how the woman claiming to be his wife stacked yellow diesel fuel tanks on Countie's lap as he sat in a wheelchair, a police affidavit says. The empty tanks were found by police a week later near an incinerated mattress and box spring about 20 feet from the front door of the woman's colonial era farmhouse.

In a second pile of burning hay, Epping police Sgt. Sean Gallagher spotted the first piece of evidence that changed the case from a missing person inquiry to a possible homicide. A piece of bone 3<1/2> inches long with a ball-shaped tissue on one end was smoldering in plain sight, said State Police Sgt. Robert Estabrook, a lead investigator in the case.

Yesterday, Countie's mother, Carolyn Lodge, dressed in black, her face buried in one hand, sobbed in a district court room as prosecutors revealed for the first time what led police to charge Sheila LaBarre, 47, with first-degree murder.

Since her arrest April 2, investigators had revealed next to nothing about the case, aside from conducting a nearly three-week search of the remote 115-acre horse farm in Epping that drew upward of 100 officers.

Judge Paul Lawrence agreed police had enough evidence to charge LaBarre with Countie's murder, and the case is expected to be heard by a grand jury for a possible indictment.

When police came to the farm on March 24, LaBarre wouldn't let Gallagher remove the bone, claiming it was part of a dead rabbit she cremated. Gallagher knew it was too large for that, Estabrook said: "He described it as having a meaty nub at the end. He felt it and described it as six to eight pounds. He didn't pick it up. He only picked it up slightly."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
New Hampshire

ET Videos