A Palm Desert man accused of tossing his one-year-old daughter to her death from a cliff on Highway 74 after stabbing her mother has been charged with first-degree murder and other charges.
Adam Slater, 49, was arrested Thursday night in connection with a sequence of events the previous day that included two separate stabbing attacks culminating in a rollover car crash on Highway 74 near the community of Pinyon Crest, where he allegedly threw his one-year-old daughter, Madalyn, over
"a steep cliff into a ravine," according to Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Ben Ramirez.
Slater, who is a registered sex offender, also faces charges of assaulting a child under 8 years old resulting in death, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and a special circumstance allegation of committing a murder during the commission of a kidnapping, making him eligible for the death penalty if the district attorney's office opts to pursue it.
Slater is being held at the Indio jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
According to the sheriff's department, last Wednesday's series of events began about 14 miles from the crash site in the 41000 block of Washington Street, outside the Southwest Community Church in Indian Wells, where deputies responded to a stabbing call about 8:30 a.m. that was described as a "domestic violence incident."
Deputies located an Ashley Grome, 23, with multiple stab wounds.
According to Grome's uncle, she was parked with her one-year-old daughter in the lot outside Southwest Church in Indian Wells while she waited to meet Slater, her husband.
"He was being combative," Grome's uncle said. "He attacked her and tried to stab her several times in the stomach and the throat. She fought him off and tried to protect herself."
The family told News Channel 3's Jake Ingrassia that Grome is 6 months pregnant with her second child.
Grome was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. She was released the following day and is recovering at home.
Following the attack, authorities say Slater sped away in a vehicle with the child. Deputies learned soon afterward that a rollover crash reported about 9 a.m. on Highway 74 around six miles south of Palm Desert could be connected to the original call.
According to sheriff's officials, passing motorists attempted to help Slater and his daughter escape the wreckage, but he allegedly stabbed one man
attempting to help rescue his daughter. It was unclear if the man he allegedly stabbed required medical treatment.
"The suspect then took the girl from the arms of the male he stabbed.
Multiple witnesses saw the suspect take the child and throw her over a steep cliff into a ravine," according to a sheriff's statement.
The child died from her injuries at the scene, officials said.
Authorities say Slater then ran down into a canyon, where deputies detained him after a short foot chase, and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries connected to the crash. He was discharged from the hospital the next day and arrested shortly afterward.
News Channel 3 found a listing for a registered sex offender in Palm Desert, identified as Adam Slater, on the California Megan's Law website.
According to the Megan's Law Website, Slater was convicted in 1995 and released in 1997. The offense is described as "sexual penetration of victim with foreign object by force."
The website did not provide specifics about his parole violation.
Grome wrote a tribute to her daughter in a post on a GoFundMe page on Thursday.
"My daughter was the absolute love of my life and she meant everything and more to me. Everything I did and everything I will do for the rest of my life is for her. She was beautiful and her smile was contagious, even after a bad day, she always cheered me up. She was taken from this world way too soon," Grome wrote.