Palm Desert sex offender stabbed two before throwing young daughter off cliff, say officials

UPDATED: Thursday, May 7, 7:15 p.m., With additional details.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — A Palm Desert registered sex offender remains hospitalized pending murder and other charges after he allegedly hurled his one-year-old daughter to her death from a steep cliff Wednesday morning, May 6.

The child’s murder happened after a series of violent crimes that began at an Indian Wells Church, according to officials now investigating the deadly incident.

In addition to reportedly murdering his own daughter, the alleged suspect is said to have repeatedly stabbed and battered a woman before fleeing the area with his daughter and crashing while driving westbound on Hwy. 74, officials have since reported.

According to witnesses and good Samaritans who tried to help after the crash, the alleged suspect then stabbed a man who tried to help his daughter, before snatching the one-year-old from the victim’s hands and throwing her to her death from the cliff.


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Deputies from the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station were first alerted to the series of violent crimes around 8:30 a.m., after receiving reports of a stabbing in the parking lot of Southwest Church on the 44100 block of Washington St., according to Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez.

When deputies arrived they found a woman with multiple traumatic injuries as a result of what authorities have since described as a domestic violence related incident.

Officials say a man stabbed at least two people before crashing his car and hurling his 1-year-old daughter from a steep cliff into a ravine, where the little girl was later found deceased. NBC Palm Springs photo

During their subsequent investigation deputies identified the alleged suspect as 49-year-old, Adam Slater, of Palm Desert, and learned the man had fled the scene of the stabbing with his 1-year-old daughter.

Deputies also learned Slater was a registered sex offender after a 1995 conviction for sexual penetration of a victim with a foreign object. A Megan’s Law website indicates Slater was released from prison in 1997.

Based on the circumstances, deputies notified other surrounding law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the knife-wielding man and his daughter.

The victim was ultimately transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. She has been listed in stable condition and is expected to survive.

Although Adam Slater remains hospitalized, officials say he will be arrested upon his release and charged with murder and other crimes related to yesterday’s violence. Megan’s Law website

About thirty minutes later, while deputies were continuing to process the scene of the stabbing, CHP dispatch began receiving reports of a solo-vehicle collision about 20 miles away; off Hwy. 74 south of Vista Point, near the unincorporated mountain community of Pinyon Crest.

“The description of the vehicle involved was similar to the suspect vehicle in the stabbing in Indian Wells,” said Ramirez, who reported the white SUV overturned multiple times while rolling several hundred feet down a steep embankment off the highway.

While officers were being dispatched to the scene of the crash, witnesses and good Samaritans who called 911 to report the accident began working their way down the steep and rocky embankment to provide aid to the vehicle’s occupants.

Upon reaching the wrecked and overturned SUV, a witness tried to pull a little girl from the destroyed vehicle, at which time Slater reportedly ran to the passenger side of the SUV and stabbed the man as he was helping to pull the young victim from the vehicle.

According to witnesses and Ramirez, Slater then snatched his daughter from the man he had just stabbed and ran with her from the scene of the crash.

Nobody there could have imagined the horrific tragedy they were about to witness.

“Multiple witnesses saw the suspect take the child and throw her over a steep cliff into a ravine,” described the Sgt.; who said, “The suspect then fled on foot into the canyon.”

When deputies and a CHP officer arrived at the collision scene, traumatized citizens who had witnessed Slater hurl his daughter from the cliff pointed them in the suspect’s direction as he continued to flee on foot into the canyon.

After a short foot pursuit, deputies managed to apprehend and detain the fleeing man.

Deputies and a CHP Officer were then directed to the steep cliff and ravine where Slater had reportedly thrown his child and soon found the 1-year-old dead from her injuries.

Slater was eventually transported to a local hospital for injuries he sustained in the crash, according to Ramirez; who said the good Samaritan Slater stabbed sought medical treatment on his own.

Based on the circumstances, Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit personnel responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

“The suspect … will be arrested and booked for murder upon his release from the hospital,” said Ramirez.

While officials worked at the scene they called for the temporary closure of Highway 74 between Highway 371 and west of Bighorn Country Club in Palm Desert.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Ramirez said no further information will be released at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to immediately contact Central Homicide Unit Investigator Munoz with the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number J201270016 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.

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Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.


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