A 38-year-old woman was found stabbed and beaten to death yesterday in the attic of her house in Suitland after police received a tip telling them a body had been seen at the woman's address.

Officers went to the two-story, white frame house at 5100 Park La., and found the body of Delores Jean Smith in the attic, Prince George's County police said.

They said they arrested Terry Wayne Simpson, 20, the caretaker of the house, about 4:25 p.m. and charged him with murder in connection with the woman's death.

According to neighbors, Smith had grown up in the house, and inherted it from her family. They said she had been living in Largo, Fla., recently, but occasionally came here to visit the house and relatives.

Police said Smith and the caretaker, who was living at the house, argued early yesterday morning.

Police gave few details about the tip that brought officers to the house. They would not say exactly where or when their informant reported seeing the body.

According to neighbors the victim, who had been born here, moved to Pennsylvania for a time, then returned to live at the Park Lane address while doing construction work on the Metro subway system. They say she had also worked at a banquet manager at the Sheraton Lanham motor Inn.

The suspect was being held without bond last night.