Florida Dad Charged With Murder For Allegedly Throwing Girl Off Bridge

Thursday, January 8th 2015, 3:06 pm
By: News 9

The man police say threw his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge to her death has been charged with first-degree murder.

Police say they encountered John Jonchuck, Jr., just after midnight on Thursday when he sped past a St. Petersburg police officer. According to a St. Petersburg Police statement, Jonchuck was going approximately 100 mph.

The officer turned his lights on and when Jonchuck pulled over at the Dick Misner Bridge, police say the officer saw him throw Phoebe Jonchuck into the water below. Jonchuck then allegedly sped off, and was apprehended about 30 minutes later - with an empty pink carseat in the back of his PT Cruiser.

Jonchuck is charged with first degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding, and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer.

CBS affiliate WTSP reports that police are uncertain whether the girl was alive when she went into the water. According to the station, police say the drop from the bridge to the water was approximately 60 feet and that dive teams found the girl in the water about a mile from the bridge.

According to WTSP, Jonchuck had custody of Phoebe at the time of her death and had filed a domestic violent claim against the girl's mother last month. The claim was thrown out. The station reports that Jonchuck had been living with his parents.

Jonchuck has also reportedly been arrested several times, including for DUI in 2013 and domestic battery in 2008.