Federal law enforcement officials, including FBI agents and 15 deputy U.S. marshals, searched unsuccessfully yesterday Dr. Robert J. Sherman, who was indicted in D.C Superior Court Tuesday for second degree murder in connection with an incomplete abortion.

A warrant for Sherman's arrest was issued shortly after a federal grand jury charged that Sherman performed on a 16-year-old patient an incomplete abortion that eventually led to her death from blood poisoning and shock.

In a 27-count indictment, the grand jury also charged that Sherman, 65, lied under oath about conditions in his abortion clinic and induced three former employes to make false statements about practices there.

If convicted, Sherman should face as much as life in prison for the second degree murder charge and from two to 10 years in prison on each of 26 charges.

Sherman's license to practice medicine in the District of Columbia was revoked last fall. He now has a private medical practice in Highland Springs, Va., a suburb of Richmond, and also works in family planning and general medical clinics operated by the City of Richmond.

U.S. Marshal J. Jerome Bullock said here that airports and hotels in the Washington and Richmond areas were under surveillance yesterday after the unsuccessful efforts to find Sherman Tuesdat.

Bullock said two deputies were dispatched from his office to Richmond Tuesday to serve the arrest warrant on Sherman after the indictment was delivered. Bullock said the marshals were unable to locate Sherman at his home or office.

Sherman's lawyer, Roberk A. Ackerman, refused yesterday to comment on the case.

Late Tueseday afternoon, Bullock said, the search for Sherman centered here after Bullock's office received information that Sherman was in the city, apparently in connections with his involvement in various civil lawsuits.

After a check of area hotels, the marshals' office learned that a 'robert Sherman' was registered at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue NW.

Bullock and three deputies staked out the man's hotel room for four hours. When the man arrived at his room at 1230 a.m. the marshals learned he was a visitor from Illinois and not the Robert Sherman named in the arrest warrant, Bullock said.

Dr. Robert L. Price, acting director of public health for the City of Richmond, said yesterday that Sherman was on duty at a clinic there Monday.

Price said that for the last several months, Sherman has worked at general medicine and family planning clinics for doctors on sick leave or vacation. No abortions are performed at the family planning clinics, Price said in a telephone interview.

Price said Sherman was "properly licensed and well qualified" to practice medicine in Virginia. He described Sherman's performance as "satisfactory.