A Worcester County man surrendered to police today on charges of permitting teen-agers to gather at his house for a drinking party that may have contributed to the death of a 16-year-old Pocomoke City girl last weekend.
Charles Robert Walters, 46, of Stockton, turned himself in at the State Police barracks in Berlin at 11 a.m. and was arrested and taken before a Worcester County court commissioner.
The girl was the second teen this month to die after an Eastern Shore drinking party.
State Police said Jill Leigh Pilchard died early Sunday at Peninsula General Hospital in Salisbury after lapsing into a coma at a friend's home after the party.
Pilchard was one of a dozen teen-agers who gathered at Walters' home. Witnesses told police Walters often allowed his home and property
to be used by local teen-agers, who consumed alcohol in his presence.
Walters was named yesterday in a warrant charging him with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, reckless endangerment, maintaining a common nuisance and maintaining a disorderly house.
State Police spokesman Chuck Jackson said the teens at the party were "familiar" with Walters' 18-year-old son, and the home was the site of "weekly if not nearly daily" gatherings. Walters' son was not at Saturday's party, however.
Walters is program director at WDMV-AM radio in Pocomoke City.
The precise cause of Pilchard's death was not known. The state medical examiner in Baltimore was to perform an autopsy.
Preliminary tests confirmed that she had been drinking, but Jackson said "it would be premature to conclude that alcohol alone caused the death of this youngster." Final results, including tests for drugs, were not expected for several weeks.
Police said Pilchard and several friends went to Walters' home for a party Saturday night. They joined about a dozen other young people there, ages 15 to 18.
Later, police said, Pilchard left the party with friends and they drove to Pocomoke City, where she was to spend the night at the home of a girlfriend.
Shortly after midnight, police said, Pilchard became unconscious, and paramedics were called to the house. Attempts to revive her, both before and after paramedics arrived, were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead at Peninsula General Hospital.
The Pocomoke City Police Department and the Worcester County Sheriff's Office have joined State Police in the investigation.
On Aug. 11, Brian Ball, 15, of Trenton, Texas, was pronounced dead at Peninsula General after attending an "all-you-can-drink" party in Salisbury.
Doctors determined he had a blood alcohol content of 0.37 -- a potentially lethal level.