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N.H. man held for allegedly attacking woman behind Lawrence school

A New Hampshire man who allegedly beat and strangled a woman behind a Lawrence elementary school was ordered held without bail at a hearing Friday, Lawrence police said.

Michael Doyle, 33, of Salem, N.H., allegedly attacked a 35-year-old Lawrence woman in a wooded area behind South Lawrence East School on April 26, according to Detective Thomas Cuddy, a Lawrence police spokesman.

Doyle, who was arrested at his home Nov. 19, was ordered held without bail at a dangerousness hearing in Lawrence District Court, Cuddy said. A spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, confirmed the decision.

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The attack was reported to police about seven hours after the incident, at 3:15 a.m. April 27, when the woman walked to a nearby home, Cuddy said in an e-mail.

She had suffered “extreme head and facial injuries” and had “ligature marks around her neck from where she appeared to have been strangled with a lanyard or something similar,” Cuddy said.

After months of investigation, including obtaining surveillance video and digital and cell phone evidence that allegedly linked Doyle to the assault, he was arrested at his home November 19.

He is being charged with assault to murder, strangulation, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to Cuddy.

The two had “met briefly before the attack,” Cuddy said in an e-mail.

“We assume [Doyle] believed the woman was dead when he left her in the woods,” he said in a brief phone interview.


Lucas Phillips can be reached at lucas.phillips@globe.com.