CLARENCE Mo. — Larissa Foreman, later known as Larissa Schuster, was born in Clarence, Missouri and grew up on a farm. She attended the University of Missouri and studied biochemistry, while working at a nursing home. Her future husband, Timothy Schuster, who also grew up on a farm, was also attending nursing school. They were married in 1982, and had two children together, Kristin and Tyler.
In 1989, the family moved to Fresno, California, where Larissa started working at an agricultural research lab and eventually started her own company, Central California Research Laboratories, Inc. (CCRL). Due to her demanding job, Timothy took on the role of a stay-at-home parent.
In 2002, the couple divorced under contentious circumstances. Larissa wasn’t happy with the agreement, and she acted like the house and business were hers alone. She did not want Timothy to have custody of Tyler or any contact with her.
Timothy moved out of the house, but Larissa was furious and took items from the house while he was away. She also confessed to several people that she had broken into Timothy’s new home and took items. The couple’s relationship deteriorated even worse after the break-in, and Timothy moved into a new home with an alarm system and sought a concealed weapon permit.
Larissa confessed to wishing for Timothy’s death and seeking someone to rough him up.
Larissa, had her employee, Leslie Fichera rent a storage unit on August 8, 2002. Fichera rented the unit in her name and gave the code to Larissa.
In April 2003, a blue 55-gallon barrel was purchased and delivered to CCRL. Larissa claimed it was for yard clippings, but asked an employee if a body could fit in it. She also ordered large amounts of hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, and a bottle of chloroform from the lab.
On July 9, 2003, Timothy disappeared after having dinner with friends. His pickup was found in the garage, but no signs of forced entry or struggle were found. His phone was left on the dresser. He did not show up for important appointments and was not heard from again.
Larissa Schuster met with detectives at the police station regarding her divorce with Timothy Schuster. She told them that the last message she received from him was on July 8th, and that he planned to pick up their son on Thursday.
She claimed that when he didn’t show, she tried to reach him by going to his house but he was not there. Furthermore, she also said that the last time she spoke with him in person was on July 5th. The detectives noticed that she was nervous and shaking when she was asked about her cell phone, and found that none of her speed dial numbers belonged to Timothy.
Confession that leads to an arrest
On July 14, Leslie Fichera and a friend of Larissa’s went to the police to report suspicious behavior. The police obtained search warrants for a storage unit, the lab where Larissa worked, and her house.
In the storage unit, a blue 55-gallon barrel was found containing human remains, later identified as Timothy through DNA testing. The body was in an early stage of decomposition and was floating in a fluid containing hydrochloric acid, which was determined to be the cause of death.
Evidence was also found in the lab where Larissa worked, including an empty can of Lysol air freshener, empty bottles of hydrochloric acid, and searches for acid digestion on her work computer. On July 16, Larissa was arrested and found in possession of receipts for air freshener and storage unit access instructions.
The trial and conviction
The case of California vs. Larissa Schuster began in front of a jury, with the prosecution alleging that Larissa had killed her husband Timothy for financial gain and to avoid dividing property in a divorce settlement.
The prosecution presented circumstantial evidence, including the discovery of a fresh circular mark on the floor of a shed on Larissa’s property, leading them to believe that the barrel containing Timothy’s remains had been stored there.
On May 16, 2008, Larissa was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Her appeal for a new trial was also denied. Larissa is currently serving her sentence at the women’s prison in Chowchilla.
Her daughter Kristin, who had not seen her mother in five years, gave an emotional statement in court calling her mother a demon for taking away her father.
Kristin also mentioned that her grandparents were now raising Tyler and that communication with him was restricted. Kristin is now married and has a young son of her own, but has said that she doesn’t know how she will talk to him about his grandmother in the future.