A Louisiana millionaire has admitted to plotting his estranged wife’s kidnapping, a bizarre plan that went desperately off the rails when the two men he hired to abduct her drowned during a foot chase with police, according to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. Lawrence Michael Handley, who found early success in the tech and vitamin supplement sectors and founded a chain of treatment centers that he sold for more than $21 million, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted second-degree kidnapping. He faces up to 35 years in prison. Handley, 53, and his wife Schanda initiated divorce proceedings in 2017. Handley claimed Schanda was abusive and had at one point hired a hitman to kill him. Schanda countered that Handley had spied on her emails, phone calls, and computer files.
Handley hired Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes, both 27, to kidnap and torture his wife in August, 2017. While Handley wasn’t home, they forced their way inside at gunpoint, handcuffed Schanda, put a bag over her head, and threw her in the back of a van. They tortured her while driving to their destination but were spotted flouting traffic laws by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, who followed their van until it got stuck in a swamp. At that point, Bracey and Haynes bailed and ran, leaving Schanda in the van. The two jumped into the Intracoastal Canal and drowned.