Those who knew an Idaho woman accused of poisoning her husband with Benadryl say that their friend was — unbeknownst to them — living a double life.
Laurcene “Lori” Isenberg, 66, was arrested in February in connection to the death of her husband, 68-year-old Larry Isenberg, who died more than two years ago. Larry Isenberg was believed to have perished in a boating accident in Lake Coeur d’Alene on February 13, 2018, but authorities have since claimed Lori actually poisoned her husband with a deadly dose of Benadryl and made it look as if he’d died after falling off their boat.
Lori has since been charged with first-degree murder, with prosecutors alleging that “poison, lying in wait or torture [were] potential factors in the killing” of her husband, The Spokesman-Review reports.
The news came as a shock to the couple’s loved ones, who spent years believing that Larry’s death was a tragic accident and have since alleged that Lori was living a “double life,” PEOPLE reports.
Andrew Kern, a friend of Larry's, told the outlet, “Larry trusted her completely, so we trusted her, too. But she was living a double life that no one knew about.”
That double life entailed embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a non-profit. Following her husband’s death, she was arrested and charged with embezzling $500,000 from the North Idaho Housing Coalition during her time working with them, according to the Associated Press.
She also gave some of the illegally gained money to four of her daughters. The woman eventually pleaded guilty to wire fraud while her children pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit to wire fraud, the outlet reports. Lori was sentenced in early 2019 to five years behind bars after pleading guilty.
Casting further suspicion on the wife and mother, investigators have said that they observed handwritten changes to the late Isenberg’s will that would have left the majority of his estate to Lori’s six daughters, while Larry’s own two children would have only gotten 20 percent, according to the Associated Press.
Despite the revelations that would later come, Lori and Larry reportedly seemed like the perfect couple before his death.
“For all intents and purposes, Lori and Dad had an absolutely perfect marriage,” Dean Isenberg, Larry’s son from a previous marriage, told PEOPLE. “If you believe in soulmates, they were soulmates.”
Lori’s original story was a tragic one: The grieving widow told local outlets in 2018 that she and her late husband took the boat out that fateful day for a date, but when Larry went to inspect the motor because it “didn’t sound right,” he fell over and into the water, according to the Idaho Statesman. Lori said that she tried to get to him, but tripped and fell, hitting her head, and was unable to save him.
“I cannot describe the pain I feel,” she said, following Larry’s death. “It is like half of me is gone.”
Lori has yet to enter a plea in her case, and her attorney did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment. She is currently in custody at the Kootenai County Jail on a $2 million bond, online records show.
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