PCP Reported in Victim of Bridge Attack

<i> From Associated Press</i>

The woman who jumped to her death from a Detroit bridge after being attacked had traces of the hallucinogenic drug PCP in her body, police said Friday.

Tests performed after an autopsy found that Deletha Word had used the drug, also known as angel dust, hours before her Aug. 19 death, Deputy Police Chief Benny Napoleon said.

He was unsure if enough PCP was in Word’s system for her to be considered intoxicated when she died.


That is likely to be a key issue in the trial of Martell Welch Jr., the 19-year-old Detroit man charged with murdering her.

“It will be a dirty, dirty shame if they let him get off on something because they say she was high,” Word’s mother, Dortha, told WDIV-TV. “He knew what he was doing.”

Deletha Word’s death attracted nationwide attention, in part because of accounts that dozens of onlookers did nothing, and even cheered, as the 33-year-old woman was dragged from her car and beaten. Witnesses have said a few teen-agers may have cheered but that most people were horrified at the beating and afraid to intervene.

Police say the pre-dawn confrontation began after two minor traffic accidents on the Belle Isle Bridge to the Detroit River island park.

Word drowned after plunging from the bridge. Two men jumped in to save her, but failed.

Napoleon said one of them, Orlando Brown, was wanted on a probation violation warrant. Brown had used an alias, Dewey Mitchell, when he talked to police after Word’s death.

Brown and Lawrence Walker were cited Wednesday by the Detroit City Council as representatives of the “spirit of Detroit” to honor their efforts to save Word.


Walker, who also initially gave police an alias, told the Detroit News that he recently spent six months in prison for selling cocaine.