CANAAN (AP) – The discovery of a woman’s body in the woods led authorities to the monthlong disappearance of another woman, both connected to the same man, police said. Investigators learned that Shirley Moon Atwood was missing for a month after finding the body of Cheryl Murdoch on Friday in the woods in Canaan.

Murdoch had been living with Atwood’s estranged husband, Shannon Atwood, who was arrested when he used a bow and arrow to threaten detectives who arrived at his home Sunday night with a search warrant, investigators said.

Shannon Atwood, who was once went to prison for choking a woman and slamming her head on the floor, was being held on $20,000 bond at the Somerset County Jail on charges of terrorizing and reckless conduct. State police declined to say whether Shannon Atwood was cooperating into the investigations of Murdoch’s death and Shirley Atwood’s disappearance.

Detectives wrapped up their search of Shannon Atwood’s home on Tuesday, and they returned to the woods where Murdoch’s body was found, McCausland said. Investigators were concerned for the welfare of Shirley Atwood, Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Tuesday.

“Our best information is that she’s been missing for at least a month. Obviously the longer this goes, the more our concern for her welfare grows,” McCausland said.

Shannon Atwood was ordered to serve three years in prison and was ordered to undergo psychological testing and counseling after attacking Jennifer Nickerson in 1993.

Nickerson said he exhibited controlling behavior as they dated for eight months by attempting to isolate her from friends and family.

Once, he took her shopping for a car and insisted she climb in the trunk “to see if it was big enough,” she said. Before the attack, he called her employer and told her she was quitting. He also canceled her auto insurance.

“I am very lucky,” she said of the assault that left her face blue and her eyes and ears bleeding.

“I’ve never gotten over it.”

As they stepped up their investigation, detectives spoke to a half-dozen of Shirley Atwood’s friends who came forward, the spokesman said.


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