INDIAN WELLS (CBSLA) — A Palm Desert father initially accused of throwing his 1-year-old daughter "over a steep cliff into a ravine" off Highway 74 after a rollover crash Wednesday now faces additional charges for allegedly stabbing her as well.
The child was found dead at the scene but it was not clear if she died before being thrown off the cliff.
The suspect, identified as 49-year-old Palm Desert resident Adam Slater, fled the scene of the attack and was later involved in a rollover accident on Highway 74, south of Vista Point.
Slater has been charged with first-degree murder, using a knife in the commission of a murder, along with a special circumstance allegation of committing a murder during the commission of a kidnapping, which makes him eligible for the death penalty if the District Attorney's Office decides to pursue it.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, deputies were initially dispatched to a report of a stabbing in a parking lot in the 44100 block of Washington Street in Indian Wells.
When deputies arrived, they found a female victim with multiple injuries as a result of a domestic violence incident. The victim was taken to a local hospital and was said to be in stable condition.
According to police, witnesses went to aid the occupants of the overturned vehicle when the driver ran to the passenger side, stabbed a male bystander who was trying to get a 1-year-old girl out of the wreckage and grabbed the girl.
Police said multiple witnesses saw the suspect throw the child over a steep cliff into a ravine before fleeing on foot into the canyon.
When deputies arrived on the scene of the crash, they detained Slater and were directed to the location of the child — later determined to be Slater's daughter — who had died as a result of her injuries.
Police said the bystander sought medical treatment on his own.
He is also charged with attempted murder, assault on a child under 8 years old resulting in death, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.
"It's painful, painful," Chris Grome, the victim's uncle, said. "Everybody's hurting real bad."
According to police, Slater is a registered sex offender who was in violation of his parole.
His bail has been set at $1 million.
He was taken to a local hospital for injuries from the crash and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
The sheriff's department said the investigation was ongoing and asked that anyone with additional information call Investigator Munoz with the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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