He later let her go, burned the house down and surrendered. He is charged with attempted murder.
It was just one of many chaotic episodes in the history of a man described by authorities as a threatening, angry ex-husband. He already faced charges of setting fire to another Connecticut house in 2007 rather than turn it over to Tyler.
Court records say Shenkman frequently violated a protective order and repeatedly threatened Tyler's life and his own, saying the only way they would become divorced was if one of them died.
Voicemail messages, e-mails and handwritten notes in the divorce case file show Shenkman's intense mental anguish.
"I am totally broke. In money. Mind and spirit. All I have left is the ability to shout to the world what you and Nancy have done to me, her children and herself," Shenkman wrote in a July, 2007 e-mail to Tyler's attorney.
At times, he used those messages to paint himself as a needy, groveling victim: "I need help praying. You and I could say a prayer together ... Please call me, please call me, please call me. Please," he begged in a voicemail to Tyler.
Frequently, he alluded to suicide: "Nancy, I want to call you back and give you a location. You can call the police and have them go there and find me," he said in another voicemail message.
When a rollercoaster of good and evil is this obvious, it's time for fasting, prayer, Sacraments and an exorcist.