St. Paul couple arrested, accused of killing 2-year-old boy in their custody

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 4:01 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two people from St. Paul Island have been arrested and are accused of killing a 2-year-old boy who was in their care, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation was notified on Dec. 12 that the boy, Joshua Rukovishnikoff, had been taken from St. Paul to an Anchorage hospital “with a serious head injury,” troopers wrote in an online dispatch report. The 2-year-old died at the hospital and his remains were sent to the State Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

The boy’s guardians, St. Paul residents Steven Melovidov, 31, and Sophie Myers-Melovidov, 28, have been arrested and face charges including first-and second-degree murder for his death, according to online court records. He had been in their custody since early October 2021, troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel said.

McDaniel confirmed that Rukovishnikoff’s mother, Nadesda “Lynette” Rukovishnikoff was killed in September. Her husband, Joshua Rukovishnikoff, was indicted in late September on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in connection to her death. Online court records show he is still awaiting trial and most recently had a bail hearing on Dec. 17.

According to troopers, they determined through their investigation that Melovidov and Myers-Melovidov had killed the 2-year-old boy in their home and “attempted to mislead investigators” about it. Troopers were granted an arrest warrant on Dec. 22, McDaniel said.

He said poor weather prevented them from traveling to St. Paul to serve the warrant until Dec. 28, but that “efforts to reach St. Paul were made daily via both commercial aircraft and DPS aircraft.”

The couple was booked at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on Wednesday, troopers wrote, and the St. Paul Police Department assisted with the investigation.

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