BURNHAM — Residents in this small town are anxiously waiting for police to reveal what they know about the “bizarre” circumstances leading to Joyce Wood’s death early Sunday after an intruder entered her house on South Horseback Road.

Wood, 72, died in a vehicle in her driveway after dialing 911 to report an intruder sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. Maine State Police and a deputy from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office went to the home, where they found Wood in a vehicle in the driveway and the intruder, a woman, in the house.

On Sunday, Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, called the circumstances of the case “bizarre.”

Townspeople are concerned and frightened about what they’ve heard about the incident.

Before state police and the deputy got to the scene Sunday, Wood’s family members had arrived, found her and put her in the vehicle, according to McCausland.

Police questioned the intruder for several hours and released her, according to McCausland. No charges were filed against the woman, whom police said was cooperative and probably would be interviewed again as evidence from the house was analyzed by police.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta performed an autopsy on Wood’s body Sunday, but police said the results were being withheld.

“The Wood case autopsy is completed (and) the case is pending further studies and investigation,” Mark Belserene, administrator of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, said via email Monday.

Meanwhile, at Patterson’s Store on Monday afternoon, people were talking about the incident.

Angie Huff, the cashier, said she was working Sunday when police came into the store and asked her if she knew two people who reportedly had parties late Saturday. Huff said she was told the woman who entered Wood’s home might have attended the parties beforehand.

Huff said she knew Wood, who often came into the store and whose husband had died about 20 years ago. Wood also lost a son to cancer about two years ago.

“She was soft-spoken, very kind, big heart – just a nice lady,” Huff said. “Very nice lady. She grew up here. A lot of her relatives are here in town.”

At Wood’s daughter’s home in Thorndike, a woman said the family is too upset to talk to the press, but that they appreciate the community’s support.

Cheryl Rossignol, who lives on Winnecook Road near Patterson’s Store, said the community is reeling from Wood’s death and disturbed by reports of what happened.

Police had placed traffic cones around a pair of rubber camouflage boots lying in the road near Rossignol’s driveway Sunday morning. Rossignol said she heard that when police found the intruder in Wood’s house, she was barefoot.

Rossignol said she had attended grammar school with Wood, though Wood was older than she was. “She had been here all her life,” Rossignol said.

Wood had lived in her house for at least 40 years and was well-liked and respected by townspeople, according to Rossignol.

“She was quite humorous – she could be – and she loved her grandchildren,” she said. “She’ll be missed.”

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

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