KILLINGWORTH—A troubled relationship that began in Middletown ended Monday with the slaying of a 36-year-old woman at an Iron Works Road cottage and the subsequent suicide of the leading suspect in a wooded area off Route 79 in north Madison.
State troopers responded to an emergency call about 8:05 p.m. from a man reporting that a woman had been attacked at 63 Iron Works Road. The woman, identified by state police as Michelle Woolley of Middletown, was taken by Killingworth Volunteer Ambulance to the Shoreline Clinic in Essex for treatment of multiple stab wounds to the chest and abdomen. She was pronounced dead at the clinic about 9 p.m.
Police later issued an all-points bulletin for Coulombe, who was reported to be traveling in a silver blue 1992 Subaru Legacy, and released a photo of him to the news media overnight. Coulombe and Woolley used to live together in Middletown. They have a child, and they were involved in a custody dispute.
Coulombe has a history of domestic violence. He was arrested Aug. 17 last year in Middletown on charges of second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace after an incident with Woolley on Warwick Street in that town.
Middletown police said Coulombe waited for Woolley outside her house and punched her when she tried to stop him from taking their child out of a car seat in a car. Woolley later obtained a court restraining order against Coulombe. Court records show that Coulombe was twice arrested for violating a court protective order last September, but was released both times after posting bail.
Coulombe was scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Middletown on Feb. 22 on charges related to the August and September incidents.
Coulombe also has a prior conviction for first-degree unlawful restraint and threatening, dating from May 1991, when he lived in Milford. Details about that incident were unavailable Tuesday.
A Madison police officer spotted the Subaru Legacy, parked behind the Shoreline Christian School off Route 79 in north Madison, about 9 a.m. Tuesday. Coulombe's body was found hanging from a tree in a wooded area near the car. Police believe the death was a suicide. Autopsies are scheduled today for Coulombe and Woolley at the office of the chief state medical examiner.
Coulombe had filed a child custody lawsuit against Woolley in Superior Court about two weeks after his August arrest. Records indicate that the couple once shared a home at 22 Warwick St., Middletown, which was the location of the Aug. 17 incident that led to Coulombe's arrest.
The custody case had recently been referred to the court's family relations division for mediation. There was a case conference on Jan. 8. The next conference was scheduled for April 14.
Members of Woolley's family declined to comment Tuesday.
The 63 Iron Works dwelling, a single-story cottage that is much smaller than most nearby homes on the road, is owned by Chris Lundberg, who lives at 65 Iron Works Road. Lundberg, who is believed to have rented the 63 Iron Works Road dwelling to the man who reported the incident to police, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.