Lori Isenberg, 66, was arrested last month on a murder charge

By Steve Helling
April 02, 2020 10:00 AM
Advertisement

An Idaho woman who claimed her husband died after falling from his boat into a lake in 2018 has been charged with murder after his autopsy found a lethal dose of Benadryl — and friends and family tell PEOPLE that they believe she was living a “double life.”

Larry Isenberg, 68, disappeared on Feb. 13, 2018 during an early morning boat trip to watch the sunrise. His wife, Lori, said he had fallen into the frigid waters while fixing the motor. She claimed she tried to save him but said she tripped on a space heater and hit her head. For about an hour, she claimed, she drove the boat around the lake looking for Larry before eventually calling 911.

But when Larry’s body was found, an autopsy showed no evidence of drowning. Instead, a lethal amount of Benadryl was found in his system.

Lori Isenberg, 66, was arrested last month on a murder charge by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

Lori Isenberg
| Credit: Kootenai County Sheriff's Office

The charge came as a shock to many people close to the Isenbergs.

“For all intents and purposes, Lori and Dad had an absolutely perfect marriage,” says Dean Isenberg, 39, Larry’s son from a previous marriage, in PEOPLE’s latest issue. “If you believe in soulmates, they were soulmates.”

Adds Larry’s friend Andrew Kern: “Larry trusted her completely, so we trusted her, too. But she was living a double life that no one knew about.”

Her alleged double life included embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lori was the former executive director of an organization that works with low-income families, but she was arrested shortly after her husband’s death after the nonprofit found discrepancies in their budget. They estimated the losses to be more than $2 million.

For more on Lori Isenberg’s alleged double life and the death of her husband Larry, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

In January 2019, Lori pleaded guilty to wire fraud and federal program theft for stealing $500,000 from the organization. She was sentenced to five years in prison. Her four daughters were all convicted of conspiracy charges in the case after Lori distributed the money to them.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Larry Isenberg and his son, Dean
| Credit: Courtesy Dean Isenberg

Authorities say they are still building the murder case against Lori.

According to a search warrant affidavit, in the weeks before Larry’s death, handwritten changes were made to his will giving 80 percent of his estate to Lori’s children, and leaving only 20 percent to his own kids. And in a Feb. 20 email Lori sent to friends, Lori said she was looking to immediately sell the couple’s home, writing “Larry and I agreed years ago that if anything happened to either of us, we would sell our paradise because it would never be the same without both of us here.”

Lori is being held on $2 million bond. She has not yet entered a plea, and her attorney did not return PEOPLE’s call for comment.