Elizabeth Barnes was the niece of lawyer Steve Barnes. The pair were killed in a plane crash in Corfu, New York, on October 2. Barnes was 32 years old. Flight records indicate that the pair were flying from Manchester, New Hampshire, to Buffalo, New York. The crash occurred around 11:45 a.m. local time. Barnes and her uncle were the only two people on board the plane.
In a statement, Ross Cellino was the first to identify Elizabeth Barnes as the other person on board the flight. The plane was a small engine Socata TBM 700. The Associated Press quoted witnesses to the crash as saying “the plane [made] a loud, whining noise, then dropping into a wooded area and exploding.” Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron told the media, “[The airplane was] pretty much disintegrated. There’s not much left at all.”
Elizabeth Barnes Was Going to Her Grandmother’s Birthday Party
The Buffalo News reports the two were en route to a birthday party for Barnes’ grandmother in the Buffalo-area. Steve Barnes had been licensed to fly a plane since 2010.
Barnes was the daughter of Steve Barnes’ brother, Richard Barnes. Richard Barnes is a personal injury lawyer at Cellino & Barnes. Barnes’ mother was Deborah N. Sorbini-Barnes, an assistant U.S. District Attorney. Sorbini-Barnes died in 2006 after a long illness, according to her Buffalo News obituary. The tribute mentions that in the last five years of her life, Sorbini-Barnes worked a part-time schedule in order to spend more time with her children. Barnes is survived by her brother, Brian Barnes, and her stepmother, Judge Sue Maxwell-Barnes. Brian Barnes is also a practicing lawyer.
Barnes Graduated With Honors From the George Washington School of Law in 2013
According to her LinkedIn page, Elizabeth Barnes graduated from Orchard Park High School in Orchard Park, New York, and the University of Rochester in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish. Barnes named Orchard Park, New York, as her hometown on her Facebook page. During her time in Rochester, Barnes spent time studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. Barnes went on to receive her law degree at the George Washington University Law School in 2013, graduating with honors. While pursuing her law degree, Barnes volunteered at the Harvard Legal Aid Society and at the George Washington Law Immigration Clinic.
At the time of her death, Barnes was working as an assistant regional counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Boston. Prior to working for the Department of Health and Human Services, Barnes worked at the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Lowell, Massachusetts. Barnes was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts in 2013 and New York in 2014. In September 2017, Barnes officiated a wedding for two of her friends.
Barnes’s father, Richard, has been a practicing lawyer in New York for over 30 years, according to his now-deleted profile on the Cellino & Barnes website. Rich Barnes graduated from the University of Buffalo School of Law in 1980. Barnes’s stepmother was elected as a judge in Erie County, New York, in 2019. Judge Barnes ran on both the Democratic and Republican party tickets.