OCEAN CITY – A West Virginia man was arrested on first-degree assault and child abuse charges last weekend after allegedly choking and hitting his daughter outside an uptown hotel in front of witnesses to the point she became unconscious.
Around 7:50 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to an uptown hotel for a reported domestic assault. Officers met with hotel employees who advised a physical altercation had occurred between a juvenile female and her father, according to police reports.
There were reportedly several other witnesses outside the hotel lobby area who reported they observed a father strangle his daughter. The witnesses also pointed to an area on the ground that had several spots of fresh blood on it, according to police reports. The area with the blood spots was reportedly right next to the hotel’s main door.
OCPD officers went to the room on the fifth floor where the family was staying and made contact with the father, identified as Derek Premo, 41, of Charles Town, W. Va. When asked what happened between he and his daughter, Premo reportedly told police the family had been at the beach and were going out to dinner.
Premo told police his daughter had anxiety and was in therapy, and that he hated to make the incident sound like her fault, but she had an episode near the family’s vehicle in the parking lot, according to police reports. Premo reportedly told police he went to the parking lot to bring the juvenile back up to the room and he grabbed her by her shoulders and she blacked out.
Premo told officers the juvenile fell to the ground and that she had a bloody nose, but he did not know how that happened because there had been no physical contact, according to police reports. Premo reportedly told police bystanders got involved when the juvenile fell to the ground, but they did not understand the situation.
Premo reportedly told police all three family members returned to the room until police arrived. OCPD officers interviewed the adult female, who advised the juvenile did have a nosebleed, but there were no marks on her. The adult female did say there had been a physical scuffle, but when the officers told her witnesses had reported Premo had pushed the juvenile against the wall by her neck, the adult female nodded her head yes, according to police reports.
At that point, the juvenile came out of the bathroom and she reportedly had blood all over the front of her white sweatshirt, according to police reports. The victim was crying hysterically and said her nose hurt and she had difficulty speaking because she was crying, according to police reports.
The victim reportedly told officers she was arguing with Premo and went downstairs. She told police Premo put his hands around her neck and head and pushed her against a wall, according to police reports. The victim told police she remembered her mother attempting to get Premo to stop. The victim told officers the last she thing she remembered was waking up on the ground with a bloody nose, according to police reports.
OCPD officers then interviewed several witnesses who all shared a similar account of the incident. The witnesses each said they observed the victim outside crying when Premo arrived and put his hands around her throat, causing her legs to be suspended several inches off the ground, according to police reports.
The witnesses reportedly each said when the mother attempted to intervene, Premo struck the juvenile victim in the face with his elbow. The witnesses told officers when they attempted to intervene, Premo released the victim and she fell to the ground, but she could not break her fall because she was unconscious, according to police reports.
The witnesses reportedly told officers the victim was kicking her feet while Premo held her by the throat, but suddenly went limp and stopped kicking before she fell to the ground. Premo was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and child abuse. He was initially ordered to be held without bond but was later released on recognizance.