Police investigating murder-suicide at Schoolhouse Road home

The Enterprise — Michael Koff
The house at 169 Schoolhouse Road was the scene of “a death investigation of two individuals,” according to Guilderland Police Captain Daniel McNally.

The Enterprise — Michael Koff
Walking past yellow crime-scene tape, a Guilderland animal-control worker removes a cat, in a blanket-covered carrier, from the house at 169 Schoolhouse Road.

GUILDERLAND —  On Friday, May 17, a mother shot her 5-year-old daughter before shooting herself at 169 Schoolhouse Road, according to a Saturday-afternoon release from Guilderland Police.

Caitlin Melville, 27, the mother, lived at that address with her daughter, who had been a kindergartner at Westmere Elementary School.

The investigation is ongoing and the police said Thursday they could provide no further information including details on motive.

The call came at about three o’clock, according to Captain Daniel McNally of the Guilderland Police.

He told a small group of reporters waiting Friday evening outside the small, yellow, one-story bungalow with a large dormer that there was very little information he could share. He described police activity as “a death investigation of two individuals.”

McNally said the public was “absolutely not” in danger.

A Guilderland town ambulance arrived on the scene at about 8 p.m. Friday but left, empty.

Four or five police cars were at the scene and police interviewed neighbors who said the family kept to itself.

The house, according to Albany County assessment rolls, is owned by Uwe M. Donaldson, who is listed as living at the same address.

“A dog and a cat were secured,” McNally said. The pets were taken from the scene by Guilderland Animal Control.

****

Last June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a Vital Signs report showing that suicide rates between 1999 and 2016 went up more than 30 percent in half the states; in New York, the increase was 28.8 percent. Nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016.

If someone you love has killed themselves, help is offered through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which provides toolkits for schools and workplaces after a suicide, bereavement clinicians, and support groups.

The New York State’s Office of Mental Health recently partnered with Crisis Text Line, a national not-for-profit group that provides free around-the-clock text-based support for people in crisis, helping people facing suicidal thoughts, cyberbullying, family emergencies, maternal depression, and more. Users are connected to a trained crisis counselor by texting “GOT5” to 741-741. Data usage is free and text messages are confidential, anonymous, and secure. This is in addition to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

— Reporting contributed by Michael Koff

More Guilderland News

  • The Guilderland committee for police reform assembled arrest records according to race and found that a much higher percentage of Blacks than there are Black residents in town were charged. This is largely due to arrests of out-of-town suspects made at Crossgates Mall, according to Police Chief Daniel McNally. The public is encouraged to read the draft and respond.

  • Altamont Treasurer Catherine Hasbrouck told the board of trustees last year that water-and-sewer rates had to be raised so the village could collect another $100,000 per year for general operations and maintenance.

  • Since the plaza is owned by Jeff Thomas the addition would be an amendment to his existing special-use permit on Altamont Corners, not to the owner of Curry Patta, Nadia Raza.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.