A 72-year-old Burnham woman died of a coronary artery disease-induced attack in April after a naked woman broke into her home and “jumped in bed” with her, according to a state medical examiner’s report obtained Monday by the Morning Sentinel through a public records request.

On April 2, Maine State Police and the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from Joyce Wood, who reported an intruder in her house at 261 South Horseback Road between 3 and 4 a.m.

Tara Shibles

State police later charged Tara Shibles, 37, with manslaughter in connection with the case. In May, the Waldo County grand jury indicted Shibles on charges of manslaughter, aggravated criminal trespassing and assault.

Her trial is scheduled for December.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland previously said that family members arrived on scene before police and helped Wood out to a car in the driveway, where “she was stricken and died.”

Police called the case and circumstances “bizarre” as they investigated what happened that night.


According to the report by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Wood reported that someone had broken into her house and jumped into her bed.

The autopsy report said that police found “a naked woman hiding in the home” and shoes down the road that “probably belonged to the naked woman.”

McCausland said that Shibles was questioned for hours but was initially released without charges.

Angie Huff, a cashier at Patterson’s Store in Burnham, previously indicated that police said Shibles had attended parties held late that Saturday, April 1, or early Sunday before entering Wood’s home, suggesting that she may have been under the influence. Huff answered questions for police about who had hosted the parties as she worked that Sunday.

McCausland said Monday that he didn’t have any more information on the case beyond what was initially released, and that any new information would come out in court.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office, which is handling the case, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.


Wood suffered sudden death after the invasion, caused by ischemic cardiovascular disease, also known as coronary artery disease. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.

Ischemic cardiovascular disease is a “long, chronic process” that diminishes the blood flow to the heart, according to Mark Belserene, an administrator in the medical examiner’s office.

Any strain on the body can set the person with the disease up for a “fatal event.”

“The bottom line is, it is the set-up for a heart attack,” Belserene said.

In Wood’s case, the medical examiner determined that the fright, or shock, of the incident was large enough to cause a fatal event.

Wood was well-known in the Burnham area and neighbors remembered her as kind, funny and loving.

Madeline St. Amour can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:


Twitter: madelinestamour

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