"Please don’t hurt my mommy. Please don’t kill mommy."
That's a quote from August Melish's 4-year-old daughter as she pleaded with her father, who threatened to drive a car off a cliff and into the bottom of a ravine in Warwick, New York, according to police. The Warwick Valley Dispatch reports that Melish was arrested Monday and charged with multiple crimes after police say he assaulted his wife and then abducted her and their young child.
Police say it started Sunday, when Melish hit his wife, choked her and tried to stifle her breathing with a pillow on her face. The woman drove to a relative's house the following day with their daughter, police told The Record Online., but that didn't keep Melish away.
Lt. Thomas Masklanka, from the Warwick Police Department, told The Warwick Valley Dispatch that Melish tracked them to the relative's home — and grew aggressive shortly after that.
“He started slapping her, choking her and pulling her hair," Masklanka said. "When a family member attempted to intervene, she grabbed her daughter and locked herself in the bathroom. He kicked in the bathroom door and forced his way into the bathroom.
"While the family member called 911, they saw the defendant dragging the victim and the four-year-old to his car where he put them in his car and drove away.”
Once he forced the mother and daughter into his car, police say, Melish warned he was going to navigate his car into a ravine next to Route 17A and kill them. That's when his daughter allegedly begged for her father to spare her mother's life.
As he drove, the toddler's mother managed to briefly get control of the steering wheel and then throw Melish's key fob out of the window, according to News12. That turned the car off.
But police allege that Melish still wasn't deterred. He pulled his wife back into the car, police told The Record Online, and then kept heading for a nosedive fall off the ravine even though he couldn't restart his car.. In response, the woman again fought for the wheel and drove the car into an embankment.
Then, police say, Melish proceeded to beat his wife again — until another driver noticed the startling scene.
That unidentified person stopped driving and got out of his car, according to The Warwick Valley Dispatch. The woman took her 4-year-old child, police say, and locked herself in that person's car until police arrived.
Police arrested Melish and charged him with Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, Obstructing Breathing by Choking, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree and Attempted Assault in the Second Degree.