D.C. police stopped hundreds of vehicles on Military Road NW yesterday, searching for clues in the slaying of Licha Poaches, who died from a bullet wound in the head after she was found Wednesday lying on the side of the road.
Poaches, 23, was from Camden, N.J., but had apparently lived at a hotel on New York Avenue NE for some time, perhaps "a couple of years," according to a homicide official.
A passing motorist spotted Poaches about 12:15 p.m. lying on the curb along the westbound lanes of Military Road, just west of the 16th Street overpass. The woman, at first thought to be a victim of a hit-and-run accident, was taken to Washington Hospital Center where she was pronounced dead.
Yesterday, between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., police stopped traffic traveling in both directions, just yards from where blood still stained the shoulder of the road, hoping motorists who had passed by the day before would be able to provide clues in the slaying.
Most motorists said they had not been on the road the day before or hadn't seen anything unusual. However, some who traveled the route about the time of the incident were pulled to the shoulder, where they were interviewed by detectives from the 4th Police District or the special operations division of the department.
Police said they collected "tidbits" of information that may help them piece together the case.
"Sometimes the things people say they saw seem trivial," one official said. "But you put a bunch of trivial things together and they might add up to the one big clue" that leads to an arrest.
Motorists, initially perturbed by the delay, seemed not to mind when they were told of the purpose, and when traffic backed up about a quarter mile, cars were waved through to relieve congestion.
"If the cars get backed up too far," an official said, "people get angry and they might not help you out."
D.C. homicide officials said they have compared notes with Prince George's County police about two slain District women whose bodies were found there recently. However, they said, the deaths do not appear to be related.