Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Larissa Schuster

The marriage crumbles


By 2003, cracks in the foundation of the Schuster family were becoming visible. Tyler was not yet a teen, but Kristin had become a willful teenager. Kristin acted out: sneaking out of the house, missing curfew and dating boys of whom her mother disapproved. Fights between Larissa and Kristin became so frequent and so heated that Larissa sent Kristin back to Missouri to live with Larissa's parents.

Larissa Schuster
Larissa Schuster
After 21 years, the Schusters' marriage was on the rocks as well. Larissa complained of Tim's impotence and would later admit to having had an affair in 1993. Family friends Bob and Mary Solis say the Schusters drifted farther apart as Larissa's laboratory business continued to grow and she spent more time on the road for work. Friends and neighbors recalled Larissa as the assertive half in the relationship and that Tim was content to be the meek, accommodating husband.

In February 2002, Larissa filed for divorce. Neither spouse moved out at first, but the two slept on different floors of the home. That summer, while Larissa was visiting relatives in Missouri, Tim packed his things and left the family home. However, he refused to back down in the financial disputes of the divorce proceedings, causing hard feeling on Larissa's part.

Tim's moving out kicked off an escalating confrontation. Larissa objected to his taking certain pieces of furniture and other belongings, so in August she and an accomplice broke into Tim's condo that August to retrieve them. Tim later obtained a gun permit and a 9 mm handgun. Larissa left her husband a number of profanely abusive voice mails, which he saved.

Custody of Tyler was given to Larissa, with Tim taking his son every other weekend. The drop-off would usually occur during Larissa's weekly nail appointment with her long-time manicurist Terri Lopez. Lopez said Larissa would often rage about her estranged husband, profanely impugning his virility. Lopez said Larissa once blurted out, "Well, I want [my husband] dead," and later told Lopez, "You don't understand. I could do it and get away with it."

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