The body of a 21-year-old woman who had recently moved to the District from rural Virginia to start a new life was found yesterday morning by a 10-year-old Southeast girl on her way to Bible classes, D.C. police said.

Cheryl A. Henderson of 3940 D St. SE, a cleaning woman at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce downtown, died of stab wounds, police said.

Police said they are seeking her estranged husband, Michael Henderson, for questioning.

Cheryl Henderson had told friends that she left her young son with his grandmother in rural Westmoreland County and moved to the District about six months ago.

She started dating 27-year-old Ronnie Bankhead, moved into his family's house and got a job as a cleaning woman at the Chamber of Commerce near Lafayette Park.

But according to Bankhead's mother Emily, Henderson began getting phone calls from her estranged husband at work and at home.

Cheryl Henderson left the Cham ber of Commerce building at 1615 H St. NW for a dinner break about 8 p.m. Tuesday but never returned to finish her shift, which was scheduled to last until midnight, according to police sources.

Ronnie Bankhead went to pick up Henderson around midnight, according to his mother.

"Ronnie came home after she wasn't on the job and he said, 'Well, maybe she went back to her husband. I'm not going to worry about it tonight.' And he went on to bed," Emily Bankhead said yesterday.

Shortly before 9 a.m. yesterday, Lisa Sanchez was hurrying up a hill from her house to the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church for her third morning of a weeklong Bible study class.

She came upon Henderson's body on a bushy slope across from 3010 Q St. SE.

"I was going up the hill. I saw the dead body, then I ran home and told my mother. It scared me. It was more like television {than} real life," said Lisa, a fifth grader at Randle Highlands Elementary School.

Her discovery stunned the working-class neighborhood and drew a crowd of neighbors and Bible class students. Several residents said they heard sudden screams shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday but did not call police, thinking it was just horseplay among neighborhood teen-agers.

"This girl, she screamed two or three times, then it was still. We assumed it was just kids over there playing," said neighbor Joan Malone.