FAIRFIELD — A woman’s body was found Tuesday afternoon by a police dog searching woods near the home where a missing Fairfield woman had been living with her husband and in-laws.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, wouldn’t say Tuesday whether authorities believe the body is that of Valerie Tieman, 34, whose husband, Luc Tieman, said he last saw her on Aug. 30 at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Skowhegan.

McCausland announced the discovery at 3:15 p.m., saying the body was found about 200 to 300 yards from the home owned by Luc Tieman’s parents at 628 Norridgewock Road, which is also Route 139. A police dog found the body four minutes after the search started, and the Tiemans were not home when the search was conducted, he said.

“Everyone in the family is being cooperative, including Luc,” McCausland said, describing the case as a “death investigation.”

The body was taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta for an autopsy and positive identification that were likely to happen Wednesday, McCausland said.

Maine State Police and game wardens started searching the property around noon Tuesday, he said. Police walked in and out of the woods near the log cabin home and investigators wearing gloves and fabric shoe coverings walked between the state police mobile crime lab and the woods.

Crime scene tape was hung at the entrance to the dirt driveway, where logs and cut firewood were piled near the road. Shortly after 2 p.m., authorities carried a tarp and pickaxes into the woods.

By 2:30 p.m., both McCausland and John Morris, commissioner of the state Department of Public Safety, were at the scene and walked into the woods with state police.

MISSING FOR THREE WEEKS

McCausland issued a statement last week saying state police detectives were reviewing Wal-Mart surveillance video and transaction records, and conducting interviews with the Tieman family and friends.

On Aug. 30, Valerie Tieman stayed in the couple’s pickup truck – a red Chevy Silverado – while her husband went into Wal-Mart, Luc Tieman said. Police say he told them his wife was gone when he returned to the truck a short time later.

Valerie Tieman’s parents, who live in South Carolina and couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, reported their daughter missing to the Fairfield Police Department on Sept. 9.

Friends of the couple say Valerie Tieman is a sweet and caring person who was trained as a hairdresser and cosmetologist. She also acted with the Recycled Shakespeare Co., a theater troupe based in Fairfield.

“Everyone who knows her loves her,” Emily Rowden, whose family started the theater group, said Thursday. “We all love her.”

Before police announced a body had been found Tuesday, Karen Pullen, a neighbor who lives across the street from the Tiemans, said Valerie and Luc Tieman moved into the home with his parents at the beginning of the summer. Pullen said Luc Tieman’s father, Alan, is a sixth-grade teacher at Benton Elementary School and his mother, whose name she did not know, is a substitute teacher there.

Pullen said she has lived in her home four years and that Luc Tieman’s parents were living across the road when she moved in.

“They’re quiet. They keep to themselves,” she said. “They are very nice. (Alan Tieman) cuts lilacs off his trees and leaves some for me. He helped my fiancé with the mailbox and the driveway. He’s been out there working on the woodpile very slowly.”

Pullen said she had not met Luc or Valerie Tieman, but once saw her walking up and down the road, looking upset. “They’re good neighbors and I have no complaints,” Pullen said. “All I can do is pray for a good outcome for Valerie.”

Pullen also said she had not seen Luc Tieman’s red pickup truck since Thursday, when police announced Valerie Tieman was missing.

Pullen was stunned Tuesday afternoon to learn that a woman’s body had been found.

“Oh, my God – that poor woman,” she said.

NO ONE ARRESTED TUESDAY

McCausland said police would be securing the Tieman property Tuesday and Wednesday, but declined to say if the house would be searched.

“There’s a lot more work to do here, now that we’ve recovered the remains,” he said.

Asked where Luc Tieman was when the search took place, McCausland said he did not know. He said no one had been arrested Tuesday, and no one was facing charges.

The log cabin home of Luc Tieman’s parents is set back from busy Norridgewock Road on an incline and is partially blocked from view by hardwoods and tall evergreens. An American flag was blowing in the breeze near the house. Fairfield police were at the scene, helping keep people off the property.

According to Luc Tieman’s Facebook page, he attended Messalonskee High School in Oakland and had served in the Army. A friend said he is disabled.

In several Facebook messages to a Morning Sentinel reporter from Thursday through Monday, Luc Tieman said his wife had “run off” before – he wouldn’t elaborate further – and he was not mad at her, just wanted her back.

He agreed to an in-person interview with the Morning Sentinel late Monday afternoon and asked that a reporter meet him on Norridgewock Road because he did not want people at his parents’ house. However, he postponed the interview at the last minute, saying in a Facebook message that his family was discouraging him from speaking publicly.

“Hopefully, they will find her or she will turn herself in by then,” he wrote.

He did not return Facebook messages sent to him Tuesday while police were searching his parents’ property.

In an interview Monday with WCSH-TV, Luc Tieman said it was “not like her” to be missing so long without contacting anyone and said he was on “good terms” with his wife before she disappeared. Yet he also said in the same interview that Valerie had told him the day she disappeared that she’d leave and never come back.

“I just want her to come out,” he told the TV station Monday. “Don’t be scared. No one’s going to get her. No one cares what she’s done.”