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Court Documents Detail Epping woman's violent past


Sheila LaBarre is no stranger to men, or violence.

The 47-year-old — whose Epping property is the location of an intense search for a missing Massachusetts 24-year-old — had a string of relationships: a boyfriend, a husband and a near-husband since moving to New Hampshire in 1987.

And the relationships frequently descended into threats or violence. At times, LaBarre was the perpetrator; other times, the victim, according to records reviewed yesterday in several courts.

Yesterday, police continued their search of the 115-acre horse farm at 70 Red Oak Hill Lane. Massachusetts resident Kenneth Countie, who had moved there within the last month, was last seen March 17.

Authorities have classified the property and road a crime scene. Yesterday the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said they removed horses from the farm Monday. The organization did so at the request of the Epping animal control officer, according to a press statement.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Odom said it would be premature to discuss foul play, but he would not rule out homicide as a possibility.

“We’re not ruling out anything at this point,” he said. “We’re looking at every possible avenue.”

Odom would not discuss who owns the farm, but neighbors have identified LaBarre as the owner. Neighbors have said a string of young men came to live at the farm, each one staying only a short time.


LaBarre took possession of the farm in 2000, upon the death of Wilfred LaBarre. Wilfred was a respected Hampton chiropractor who moved her to New Hampshire from Tennessee in 1987 after meeting her through a personals ad, according to his daughter, Laura Melisi.

Sheila LaBarre moved to New Hampshire with the name Sheila Bailey Jennings, said Melisi’s husband, John Melisi. Bailey was her maiden name, Jennings the name of a man she had married and left in her native state of Alabama, according to Melisi.

She never married LaBarre. But Melisi said in a 2002 request for a restraining order against her that the woman ended up controlling everything Wilfred LaBarre owned through extortion and threats on his life and property.

Melisi has said Sheila LaBarre became Wilfred’s office manager and lived in the apartment above the office in Hampton. Sometime in the 1980s, Sheila and Wilfred ended their romantic involvement, according to papers filed in a court case in Rockingham County.

In 1995, Sheila LaBarre married Wayne Ennis, a native of Jamaica. In complaints filed in Hampton District Court, she claims Ennis tried to force her car off the road, punched her in the head and kicked her.

She divorced Ennis in 1997.

At the same time, Sheila LaBarre continued to have contact with Wilfred LaBarre.

“After chasing (Wilfred LaBarre) with a gun, she twice asked her husband, Wayne Ennis, to murder Dr. LaBarre in an attempt to take over his business in Hampton and farm in Epping,” Melisi wrote in the request for a restraining order, which was granted for a period of one year.

Meanwhile, Sheila LaBarre had met James Brackett.

In 1998, Hampton police arrested Sheila LaBarre for stabbing Brackett in the head with a pair of scissors. Brackett had threatened her, and both were arrested in the incident. Police termed the matter a “lover’s quarrel/argument,” and eventually the case was dropped, according to court records.

When Wilfred LaBarre died, he willed Sheila LaBarre the Epping farm, the Hampton office, two Somersworth properties and a Portsmouth house, John Melisi said. He valued them at $2 million.

In a court document, Melisi said LaBarre threatened the director of Brewitt Funeral Home if he did not alter Wilfred LaBarre’s death certificate to say she was the wife.

Yesterday, Miguel Brewitt, a director at the home, said neither he nor his father has a concrete memory of the incident. He said there may have been a request to change the death certificate, but he does not believe his father was threatened.

Regardless of the death certificate, the state Department of Revenue Administration said LaBarre was not Wilfred’s wife and moved to collect inheritance tax on the estate.

In 2001, LaBarre challenged the DRA in a Rockingham County Probate Court case and claimed she and Wilfred were common-law spouses. But the DRA said LaBarre and Wilfred lived in separate addresses during the three-year period needed to claim common-law status. The agency also noted LaBarre lived with Brackett at some point during that time.

LaBarre dropped the matter after documents surfaced in which she told a psychologist she and Wilfred LaBarre had not been romantically involved since the 1980s.

Sheila LaBarre grew up in Fort Payne, Ala., where her mother, Ruby Bailey, yesterday said she had heard from her daughter not too long ago. She said she was unaware that her daughter’s New Hampshire farm was the focus of a missing person search.

“I don’t know nothing about that,” Bailey said during a brief telephone conversation.

Union Leader Correspondents Toby Henry, Jerry Miller and Clynton Namuo also contributed to this report.