Maine State Police have charged a Thorndike woman with manslaughter in connection with the death last month of 72-year-old Joyce Wood of Burnham under what police at the time called “bizarre circumstances.”

Tara Shibles, 37, who is alleged to have intruded into Wood’s home early in the morning on April 2, was arrested Thursday afternoon after she was indicted by a Waldo County Grand Jury earlier in the day in connection with Wood’s death.

“In addition to the manslaughter charge, Shibles was also indicted on aggravated criminal trespass and assault,” Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said in a news release on Friday. “She was arrested at her home at 244 Gordon Hill Road in Thorndike.”

The state medical examiner’s office in Augusta performed an autopsy on Wood’s body on April 2, the same day she died, police said.

Mark Belserene, administrator at the medical examiner’s office, said in an email Friday that the sudden death was “caused by ischemic cardiovascular disease during home invasion,” and that the manner of death was classified as a homicide. He said there was no other information to release at this time.

The case is being handled by the state Attorney General’s Office. No police affidavit with case details was prepared in the case because it was presented to the grand jury, according to Timothy Feeley, spokesman for the AG’s office.


“We cannot comment on any evidence presented,” Feeley said Friday in an email.

Early in the morning of April 2, a Sunday, Wood dialed 911 after a woman entered her home at 261 South Horseback Road between 3 and 4 a.m., police said at the time. Family members arrived at the scene before police arrived and placed Wood in a vehicle in the driveway.

At the time, McCausland said Wood “was stricken and died in the vehicle.”

“This is a bizarre set of circumstances and we need to find out exactly what happened inside that house this morning, and that’s the phase the investigation is in,” McCausland said at the time.

Police found the intruder, Shibles, in Wood’s home and questioned her for hours but released her without charges.

Wood was well-known in Burnham and townspeople said after her death that she was kind, well-liked and respected and had a good sense of humor. Her husband had died about 20 years ago, her son about two years ago, and she lived alone, they said.


Contacted Friday at her Troy home, Wood’s daughter, Angel Wren, declined comment on Shibles’ indictment and arrest in connection with her mother’s death.

“I don’t really have anything to say right now,” she said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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