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"Everything I did and everything I will do for the rest of my life is for her," Ashley Grome said of her daughter, who was killed on Wednesday

By Ashley Boucher
May 07, 2020 09:05 PM
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A California man is accused of stabbing his pregnant wife before throwing their baby daughter over a cliff less than an hour later.

Palm Desert resident Adam Slater, 49, is the suspect of a homicide investigation in Riverside County and will soon be arrested and charged, according to a sheriff's press release.

A series of gruesome incidents began on Wednesday morning when Slater met with a woman in a parking lot. The woman was not identified by police, but local station News Channel 3 reports that the woman was Slater's wife, Ashley Grome, 23.

The Riverside County Sheriff's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Ashley was reportedly found in an Indian Wells church parking lot with multiple stab wounds after officers were dispatched to respond to a stabbing report around 8:30 a.m. She was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover, the sheriff's office said.

ashley grome
Madalyn Payton Slater
| Credit: gofundme
ashley grome
Ashley Grome and daughter
| Credit: courtesy

Thirty minutes later around 9 a.m., California Highway Patrol dispatch received a report of a collision about 15 miles away, off Highway 74 in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains scenic area. The description of the vehicle, which was overturned, matched the description of the suspect's car from the stabbing earlier that morning, the sheriff's office said.

As witnesses rushed to help the people involved in the crash, the driver allegedly ran to the other side of the car and stabbed a male bystander, who had been trying to help remove a baby girl from the overturned car.

Slater then took the baby, identified as his daughter, and proceeded to "throw her over a steep cliff into a ravine," according to multiple witnesses, the sheriff's office said. He then went down into the canyon on foot.

When deputies arrived, they apprehended Slater after a short foot pursuit. They also found the baby girl, who was pronounced dead on the scene.

Slater was taken to a hospital for treatment to his injuries from the crash and "will be arrested and booked for murder upon his release," the sheriff's office said. It was not immediately clear if Slater has legal representation.

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Ashley's uncle, Chris Grome, told News Channel 3 that the entire saga is "painful."

"Everybody’s hurting pretty bad," Chris told the outlet, explaining that Slater was being "combative" with his niece and "tried to stab her several times in the stomach and the throat. She fought him off and tried to protect herself."

"He panicked, got in the vehicle, and I was told that he threw the baby in the vehicle," Chris said.

Ashley, who is currently 6 months pregnant, has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with funeral expenses for her 1-year-old daughter Madalyn.

"I am the mother of Madalyn Payton Slater, the one-year-old baby girl who was killed on May 6, 2020 by her father when he drove off of Highway 74 after beating and stabbing me, then leaving me to die in the Southwest Community Church parking lot," Ashley wrote on the campaign page.

"My daughter was the absolute love of my life and she meant everything and more to me," she continued. "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."

Chris added to News Channel 3 that Madalyn "was a little joy to have."

The homicide investigation is currently ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to call Investigator Munoz with the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777.