America’s Most Wanted suspect pleads not guilty

Larene Eleanor Austin

LANCASTER – The woman charged in a 2010 Palmdale murder, who fled the country and was captured in Belize, appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday.

Larene Eleanor Austin, 30, pleaded not guilty to shooting and killing Lanell Barsock, 29, on June 16, 2010.

Barsock’s body was found in the garage of her home in the 37400 block of Rockie Lane in Palmdale.

According to media reports, Austin and Barsock became friends after meeting in the personal ads section of Craiglist, and the friendship evolved into a romantic relationship.

When Barsock dumped Austin to focus on her boyfriend, Austin allegedly shot Barsock in the back of the head and then tried to cover her tracks by framing Barsock’s boyfriend. She then tried to adopt Barsock’s life, according to media reports.

Lanell Barsock

Officials zeroed in on Austin as the main suspect in Barsock’s murder in early 2011, and a warrant was issued for Austin’s arrest in March 2011. By that time, she had already fled the county.

In December 2011, the case was publicized on America’s Most Wanted, and tipsters put Austin in the Central American country of Belize.

Austin was captured in Belize on Jan. 25 and extradited back to the United States.

Her capture was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted on Feb. 17, 2012.

Austin’s arraignment has been postponed times since she February. After pleading not guilty Tuesday, Austin was ordered back to custody on $2 million bail.

She is due in court again on Nov. 6 for a two-day preliminary hearing.

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