Louisiana vitamins millionaire pleads guilty to kidnap plot involving ex-wife


Louisiana healthcare millionaire pleads guilty to kidnap plot against his ex-wife which unraveled when the two captors he hired DROWNED while trying to escape police with the wife in the back of their van

  • Lawrence Michael Handley, 53, plotted to have his ex-wife Schanda kidnapped
  • The pair married in 2006 but divorced in 2017; that year, he started using drugs
  • He’d made his fortune in rehab centers and launching companies that sold vitamins, among other things
  • In August 2017, while high on meth and cocaine, Handley paid Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes to kidnap his wife
  • They went to her home, put a bag over her head and put her in their van 
  • As they fled, they hit traffic and started speeding up the shoulder of the road
  • It attracted the attention of a cop who chased them; the men crashed, fled on foot, then jumped into a canal where they drowned
  • Schanda survived and was found in the back of the van; Handley was found in a hotel four days later 
  • He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 2 charges and now faces 35 years behind bars

A Louisiana millionaire has pleaded guilty to orchestrating a kidnapping plot against his ex-wife which unraveled when the men who he’d hired to take her drowned while trying to get away from police with her tied up in the back of their van.

Lawrence Michael Handley, 53,  a recovering alcoholic, sold his healthcare company for $21million in 2015, two years before he filed for divorce from his wife, Schanda. The pair both claimed that the other had tried to have them killed. 

In August 2017, two men – Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes – went to Schanda’s home to kidnap her. They put a bag over her head, tied her up and threw her into the back of a van then set off. 

Handley had hired them while he was high on meth and cocaine, according to his lawyer. It’s unclear why Handley wanted to kidnap his ex or if he intended to kill her. 

After placing Schanda in the back of their van at gunpoint, the two kidnappers drove away but they ran into traffic. 

Rather than wait it out, they drove up the shoulder of the road and attracted the attention of a deputy who started pursuing them. 

During the chase, they turned off the road and crashed into a swampy area. They then abandoned the van on foot, leaving Schanda tied up in the back, and as they ran, decided to jump into a canal where they later drowned. 

Lawrence Michael Handley, 53, plotted to have his ex-wife Schanda kidnapped in August 2017. Two men he hired went to her home, put a bag over her head and put her in the back of a van 

Sylvester Bracey

Arsenio Haynes

Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes both drowned trying to run away from police after crashing the van then deciding to flee on foot. They jumped into a canal and their bodies were found days later

Their bodies were found two days later. Schanda was rescued by the deputies from the back of the van. 

Handley's attorney said he was high on methamphetamine and cocaine when he hatched the kidnapping plot

Handley’s attorney said he was high on methamphetamine and cocaine when he hatched the kidnapping plot 

Handley was arrested four days later after police tracked him down to a hotel. He had chartered a plane and had plans to leave the country. Since then, he has been in jail. 

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple charges, claiming insanity, but in 2018 a judge deemed he was mentally competent to stand trial. 

On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted second-degree kidnapping as part of a plea deal.

He now faces between 15 and 35 years behind bars. 

Before taking the plea deal, he was facing life in prison on an aggravated kidnapping charge. 

Handley made his fortune with companies that, among other things, sold vitamins.

In 2015, he sold his group of recovery addiction centers which operated all over the South, for $21million.

He himself is a recovering alcoholic, according to The Clarion Ledger, and as his marriage deteriorated, he started using drugs. 

Handley and Schanda married in 2006. It’s unclear why their marriage fell apart but in 2017, multiple restraining orders were filed involving both of them. He alleged that she was trying to have him killed. 

His attorney told The New York Times that he was not thinking clearly when he plotted to have her kidnapped because he was high on methamphetamine and cocaine. 

‘It was certainly not logical thinking, but when you’re doing a lot of meth and cocaine, I guess it seemed rational to him. 

‘It turned out to be a terrible decision,’ Kevin Stockstill told The Times. She said he had ‘lost his mind’ on drugs. Handley is yet to be sentenced.   

Schanda said her husband 'lost his mind' on drugs and plotted against her in a 'drug induced psychosis'

Schanda said her husband 'lost his mind' on drugs and plotted against her in a 'drug induced psychosis'

Schanda said her husband ‘lost his mind’ on drugs and plotted against her in a ‘drug induced psychosis’

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