'They Had a Great Marriage.' Now a Murder Charge

Idaho woman charged with killing hubby as embezzlement allegations came to light
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2020 10:04 AM CST
Updated Mar 1, 2020 7:13 AM CST
She Claims a Boating Accident. Cops Claim a Benadryl Murder
A drone splashes across Idaho's Lake Coeur d’Alene.   (Wikimedia/Bureau of Land Management)

She said her husband fell overboard while the couple were taking in the sunrise from the middle of a chilly Idaho lake on Feb. 13, 2018. Two years later, police say Lori Isenberg in fact killed her husband, Larry, on the same day she was accused of embezzling $500,000 from her employer to benefit her daughters, whom she had handwritten into Larry's will, per the Washington Post. It's a wild story that includes Isenberg, herself, vanishing. Coverage:

  • In an email to family and friends a week after the incident, Isenberg said Larry had been inspecting a motor when he got "a confused look on his face and started to fall over," per the Coeur d’Alene Press. She added she tripped and hit her head while scrambling toward him, and so she was unable to reach him before he fell into Lake Coeur d'Alene and disappeared.
  • Larry's body was discovered floating in the lake on March 1, but there was no evidence of drowning or even a stroke. Rather, his body contained a lethal dose of Benadryl, per KXLY. Police say Isenberg—who claimed Larry was sick with the flu—is behind the 68-year-old retired forester's death.

  • Around the same time, Isenberg was charged with embezzling $500,000 from the North Idaho Housing Coalition, where she formerly worked as executive director. On the very day of the boat trip, the Press had reported that Isenberg was no longer employed due to "accounting irregularities."
  • Prosecutors said Isenberg began stealing $16,000 a month in 2015 with help from four of her daughters, who pocketed the money. According to a search warrant obtained by KHQ, a family friend told police that Larry was upset by Isenberg's "constant enabling and giving of money to help out her daughters."
  • In the month before Larry's death, police say Isenberg also wrote all six of her daughters from an earlier marriage into Larry's will. They were to receive 80% of his estate, with the rest left to Larry's two children.
  • "No one knew what was going on behind the scenes," Larry's son, Dean, tells KHQ. "As far as we all knew, they had a great marriage. ... Dad was happy."
  • On Feb. 14, 2018, Isenberg told her former employer that she would return the stolen money and suggested she'd already been punished, with God "taking away the best part of my life." But then she skipped an arraignment hearing and disappeared for two months, per the Post.
  • She eventually pleaded guilty to wire fraud and federal program theft and was sentenced to five years in federal prison last April. Her four daughters pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal program theft and received three years of probation.
  • Arrested on Monday, Isenberg is charged with first-degree murder "under a section of Idaho's murder law that references using poison to kill someone," reports KREM. She's now held in Kootenai County Jail on a $2 million bond.
(Read more murder stories.)

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