Steven Melovidov and Sophie Myers-Melovidov Accused of Killing Joshua Rukovishnikoff Months After Mom’s Murder
A 2-year-old boy was killed by his guards on a remote island in Alaska earlier this month – two months after his father allegedly murdered his mother, prosecutors said.
Steven Melovidov, 31, and Sophie Myers-Melovidov, 28, were charged in Anchorage on Thursday with first- and second-degree murder, along with four counts of assault, in the death of 2-year-old child on December 12 Joshua Rukovishnikoff, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Prosecutors said the couple, who lived on the island of St. Paul, out in the Bering Sea, hit the boy in the head and injured his genitals, leading to a day-long hospital stay before being pronounced dead. The couple initially pretended to be unaware of how the boy was injured, but text messages show caregivers knowledgeable at every point of the ordeal, according to the Alaska State Serviceman’s affidavit. revealed on Thursday.
Rukovishnikoff joined the Melovidov family in October after his father, Joshua Rukovishnikoff, was arrested after allegedly killing his mother, Nadesda Rukovishnikoff, by placing her at a barricade during a violent fight. It was not clear how the child was in the Melovidovs’ care until a medical call late on December 11 said the boy had suffered a convulsion from a fall.
The toddler was driven that evening to the St. Paul. He was accompanied by Melovidov, who kept communicating with his wife throughout the night. When telling officials what caused the boy’s injuries, Myers-Melovidov expressed fear that their cover would burst.
“Hopefully the doctors and nurses and whoever checked him won’t call [the Office of Children’s Services] or the police,” she wrote, as reported by the Instant news. “Please delete this text after you read it. I was very scared and worried.”
Her husband reassured her that it would not be, telling her that the hospital would conduct a brain scan in the morning. Myers-Melovidov was still angry. “Gees and we hit him in the head,” she wrote back. “Please delete our messages now.” The end result showed extensive internal bleeding in the toddler’s brain.
At that time, police went to Melovidov’s home to speak with Myers-Melovidov and their 8-year-old daughter. Myers-Melovidov is said to have told her husband she had begun presenting a sympathetic story to the police, one in which Rukovishnikoff hit his head on the ground and the couple called for help.
Rukovishnikoff died on December 12. Two days later, police returned to Melovidov’s home to take pictures and speak to Myers-Melovidov again, further scaring her.
“F — en aye man,” she texted her husband, according to the affidavit. “They’d better not put us in jail.”
The Melovidovs’ story also began to change, according to the affidavit, when Myers-Melovidov told her husband that their daughter knew how to speak, “if they asked her questions. Just tell them we discipline and get him out in time.”
The the last two were arrested on Tuesday charged with murder after Rukovishnikoff’s autopsy revealed multiple head and genital injuries. The couple’s bail is set at $250,000 each, along with the mandatory release of a third-party guardian if they can post the money.