WILMINGTON / EPPING, NH- The mother of a murder victim with ties to Wilmington is now circulating a petition asserting negligence on the part of the police department that investigated the murder of her son, Kenneth Countie. Carolyn Lodge, of Billerica, has presented the petition to the New Hampshire Attorney General in hopes that police will be held accountable for not stepping in to prevent her son’s death.
Kenneth Countie was murdered and his remains burned by Sheila LaBarre in 2006 on her horse farm in Epping, NH. LaBarre, 54, is serving two life sentences in prison for killing Kenneth Countie of Wilmington and Michael Deloge, 38, of Portsmouth after a jury rejected her insanity claims in 2008.
As previously reported, Countie, 24, met LaBarre through a personal ad in February 2006. He moved in with her soon after and was last seen alive that March, being pushed by LaBarre in a wheelchair at Wal-Mart, his face and hands covered with cuts. Police saw him at the Wal-Mart; Countie’s mother also called police saying she was worried about him. According to court testimony, police also got a phone call from LaBarre in which she played a recording of herself harassing Countie.
When police went to the house to check hours later, they discovered a burned mattress and a burn pile with large bone fragments. After knocking and getting no response, they kicked down the door, court documents said. Shortly after that, LaBarre arrived and invited them into the house. Countie was not there, but his sneakers were. When police asked for them, she refused. She was eventually arrested and charged with the murders of Countie and Deloge.
In 2010 LaBarre and her attorney, David Rothstein, appealed the decision on the NH Supreme Court arguing that police violated LaBarre’s privacy by going onto her Epping property on March 24, 2006, without a warrant when they went to check on the well-being of one of her boyfriends.
Now Carolynn Lodge, Countie’s mother, is pursuing a petition to hold the Epping, NH Police Department “legally accountable for gross negligence” in the murder of her son. In the body of the petition Lodge asserts that Epping Police deterred her from retrieving her son after he moved into LaBarre’s residence and “did nothing to assist” in the safe return of her son.
Lodge claims that she informed Epping Police early on in the investigation, prior to Countie’s death, that he was learning disabled. The police encountered Countie and LaBarre at an area Wal-Mart but did not intervene at the time. It is this incident that has Lodge outraged. She claims Epping Police contacted her after the encounter, telling her that Countie had cuts on his hands and feet, was clearly beaten and burned and in a wheelchair.
Little more than two days later police responded to LaBarre’s home where Countie’s burning remains were found in a fire pit.
Lodge’s petition is on Change.org with 647 signatures. Her civil suit against the Epping Police Department was previously thrown out.
According to published reports in the New Hampshire Union Leader, LaBarre is serving time in the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Fla.