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Woman falls to death at Leap

Nov. 8, 2006

Staff writer and reporter

A woman fell to her death shortly after noon on Tuesday when she intentionally slid over the ledge of Lovers Leap in Cameron Park, said Steve Anderson, spokesman for the Waco Police Department.

Sarah Marie Rebecca, 28, crawled over the Lovers Leap wall and refused park bystanders' requests to return to safety. When police officers arrived at the scene, they found Rebecca sitting on the rock ledge.

Anderson said Rebecca continually refused officers' attempts to get her to step away from the cliff's edge.

She then intentionally slid off the ledge she was sitting on. Before falling, she turned back toward officers while holding onto the rock ledge, Anderson said.

An officer offered Rebecca a repelling rope, but Anderson said she refused the officer's help. While one of the responding officers was speaking with Rebecca, she let go of the ledge she was holding onto and fell to her death.

Anderson said officers experienced "a feeling of helplessness."

"It was obvious that they felt how anyone would feel when trying to keep someone from taking their own life and then right there in front of them they just jumped," Anderson said.

Monique Ortega, an El Paso senior, said Lovers Leap has made her nervous since her freshman year. She said the wall is low and even appears broken in some areas.

"It's really bad," she said. "There should be a lot more things to keep people from getting to those dangerous parts."

Ortega said the city should do "whatever it takes" to prevent this kind of incident or a repeat of last February's accidental death. One of her suggestions was the inclusion of a "buffer zone" between the wall and the cliff.

"How many more people have to die before they do something about this?" Ortega asked.

Attempts to contact Jonathan Cook, the City of Waco Parks and Recreation community relations officer, after hours were unsuccessful.