Alaskan Couple Accused of Killing Foster Toddler—Months After His Mom’s Murder

A 2-year-old boy was killed by his guardians on a remote Alaskan island earlier this month, prosecutors said—two months after his father allegedly murdered his mother.Steven Melovidov, 31, and Sophie Myers-Melovidov, 28, were arraigned in Anchorage on Thursday on first- and second-degree murder charges, along with a fourth-degree assault charge, in the Dec. 12 death…

Powered by NewsAPI , in Liberal Perspective on .

news image

A 2-year-old boy was killed by his guardians on a remote Alaskan island earlier this month, prosecutors said—two months after his father allegedly murdered his mother.

Steven Melovidov, 31, and Sophie Myers-Melovidov, 28, were arraigned in Anchorage on Thursday on first- and second-degree murder charges, along with a fourth-degree assault charge, in the Dec. 12 death of 2-year-old Joshua Rukovishnikoff, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Prosecutors said the couple, who live on remote St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea, hit the boy on the head and injured his genitals, leading to a daylong hospital stay before he was declared dead. The couple initially feigned ignorance about how the boy was injured, but text messages showed the caretakers’ knowledge at every point of the ordeal, according to an Alaska State Trooper affidavit revealed Thursday.

Rukovishnikoff entered the Melovidov household in October after his father, Joshua Rukovishnikoff, was arrested after allegedly killing his mother, Nadesda Rukovishnikoff, by putting her in a chokehold during a violent fight. It is unclear what the child’s condition was in the Melovidovs’ care until the late Dec. 11 medical call that stated the boy was suffering from seizures induced by a fall.

The toddler was transported late that evening to St. Paul Health Clinic. He was accompanied by Melovidov, who constantly communicated with his wife through the night. As he told officials what caused the boy’s injuries, Myers-Melovidov appeared fearful their cover would be blown.

“Hopefully doctors and nurses and whoever checks him won’t call [the Office of Children’s Services] or the police,” she wrote, as reported by the Daily News. “Please delete this text after you read. I’m scared and worried.”

Her husband reportedly reassured her that wouldn’t be the case, letting her know the hospital would perform a brain scan in the morning. Myers-Melovidov wasn’t calmed. “Gees and we’ve been hitting his head,” she wrote back. “Please delete our texts now.” The results eventually showed heavy internal bleeding in the toddler’s brain.

At that point, police had arrived at the Melovidov home to speak with Myers-Melovidov and their 8-year-old daughter. Myers-Melovidov reportedly told her husband she had begun crafting a sympathetic story to police, one where Rukovishnikoff had hit his head on the ground and the couple had called for help.

Rukovishnikoff died on Dec. 12. Two days later, police returned to the Melovidovs’ home to take photos and speak to Myers-Melovidov again, further provoking her fear.

“F—en aye man,” she texted her husband, according to the affidavit. “They better not f—en put us in jail.”

The Melovidovs’ story had also begun to shift, according to the affidavit, as Myers-Melovidov told her husband that their daughter knew to say that, “if they ever ask her questions. Just tell them that we discipline and put him in time out.”

The two were eventually arrested Tuesday on murder charges after Rukovishnikoff’s autopsy revealed multiple head and genital injuries. The couple’s bail was set at $250,000 each, along with a mandatory release to a third-party custodian if they can post the funds.

Read More