A 49-year-old Palm Desert man, who authorities say has been hospitalized since his arrest on Wednesday, is believed to be responsible for attacking and stabbing a woman during a brutal “domestic violence incident” in Indian Wells that ultimately ended in a rollover crash along Highway 74, where he is accused of stabbing a second person before then throwing his own infant daughter to her death.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, in a news release issued Thursday, identified the man as Adam Slater of Palm Desert.
He was arrested on suspicion of homicide and could face additional charges in connection with Wednesday’s assault outside Southwest Church, in which he is also accused of abducting his infant daughter and speeding away.
Authorities tracked him down at a crash site along Highway 74 at around 9 a.m. Wednesday — about 30 minutes after reports of the initial incident outside the church. His vehicle had overturned and come to rest several hundred feet from the road, officials said.
Witnesses told investigators that a male bystander successfully freed Slater’s infant daughter from the vehicle, but Slater stabbed the man.
“The suspect then took the girl from the arms of the male he stabbed,” according to the sheriff’s department news release. “Multiple witnesses saw the suspect take the child and throw her over a steep cliff into a ravine. The suspect then fled on foot into the canyon.”
After a brief foot chase, authorities detained Slater. They then found his daughter’s body and determined that she did not survive.
Slater is hospitalized with injuries he suffered in the crash, while the male bystander who was stabbed “sought medical treatment on his own,” according to the news release.
The sheriff’s department did not identify the woman Slater is accused of assaulting outside the church or provide any specifics about her or his daughter. Authorities said only that the woman was also hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
However, in a televised interview with KESQ-TV, relatives of the woman identified her as Ashley Grome, 25, and the girl as Grome’s and Slater’s 1-year-old daughter, Maddie.
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According to the interview, Grome and Slater are married. Slater had made threats against Grome, who is 6 months pregnant. It wasn’t clear why Grome and Slater reportedly met outside Southwest Church, but relatives said that once he was there Slater began attacking Grome and attempted to stab her in the neck and stomach.
When she fought back, they said, he grabbed Maddie and sped away.
A GoFundMe page seeking donations for the child’s funeral was set up early Thursday by a woman who identified herself as Ashley Grome, the mother of the child, Madalyn Payton Slayter.
The woman wrote on the page that her daughter had been “killed on May 6, 2020 by her father” who “drove off of Highway 74 after beating and stabbing me then leaving me to die …”
She continued, “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.”
Grome was reportedly released from the hospital on Thursday.
The Desert Sun has attempted to reach relatives of the woman but has been unsuccessful.
The sheriff’s department has not corroborated published media reports regarding the woman or Slater’s daughter and other than the news release issued Thursday, declined to provide additional information.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing and authorities asked that anyone with information contact the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777.
Desert Sun reporter Christopher Damien covers crime, public safety and the criminal justice system. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow him at @chris_a_damien.
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