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.

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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

  • Despite mandatory delays due to the COVID-19 outbreak, tenants have moved into the first of 11 apartment buildings at the Preserve of West Creek.

  • The fifth case, at Guilderland High School, was announced Wednesday in an email from Superintendent Marie Wiles. That last case forced the high school to all-remote learning, beginning on Thursday, Nov. 19, and lasting until Thanksgiving break, which starts on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

  • Borrego Solar is seeking variances to be able to clear-cut more trees than code allows and to have its solar panels located closer to all the neighbors’ property lines than what is currently allowed by law, which was one of the reforms included in the April amendments package to the town’s solar law.

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