Phoebe JonchuckA 25 year old man, John Jonchuck Jr., was being chased by the police while he was driving his P.T.Cruiser going 100 mph Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, Florida but he suddenly stopped his car when he was crossing the Dick Misener bridge, got out of his car and took his 5 year old daughter, Phoebe and threw her off the side of the bridge.

The cop that saw Jonchuck do this, quickly climbed down a service ladder on the bridge to see if he could see the little girl, but while he was doing this, Jonchuck drove off but was arrested by the St. Petersburg cops and Manatee County Sheriff’s deputied about 30 minutes later. Phoebe’s body was found later by divers about a mile from the bridge. The police are saying they are not sure if she was alive when he threw her over the bridge or not. They are waiting on the report from the medical examiner’s office to find out.

John Jonchuck, Jr. has been charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer. When he made his first appearance in court today, he was asked if he had an attorney and he replied, “I want to leave it in God’s hands.” The judge simply said back to him, “I’m pretty sure God is not representing you.” Jonchuck is now being held without bail and will be back in court again on January 12.

Reports say that Jonchuck had legal custody of his daughter. Her mother, Michelle Kerr said that they gave him custody of her daughter because she has MS and her condition made it difficult to take care of the child. She said she hadn’t seen her daughter since Christmas Eve. Kerr claimed Jonchuck was a good father and she never expected him to ever do anything like this. She said her little girl was “so lovable” and she would do anything to just have her for one more day.

Jonchuck had a meeting with his attorney, Genevieve Torres, Wednesday so they could discuss his paternity case but she became concerned after he made a statement to her before leaving. Torres said Jonchuck told her “don’t file the paperwork, it’s not going to matter anymore.” She was so concerned that she dialed 911 and reported what he had said to her.

During the investigation in this case some things were discovered. It has been confirmed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office that they were involved in an incident with Jonchuck on Wednesday which makes the 6th interaction with him within the last 5 years.

John Jonchuck

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokesperson, Debbie Carter, released the following details of their previous dealings with Jonchuck:

May 23, 2010 – Battery Comestic Violence: Jonchuck battered the victim, Michelle Kerr. He was arrested.

May 26, 2013 – Battery: Jonchuck was arrested for battering his daughter’s mother, Michelle Kerr, during an argument that escalated to physical.

October 25, 2013 – Forgery: Jonchuck was accused of forging his daughter’s mother’s, Michelle Kerr, checks. She ultimately signed a waiver not to prosecute.

November 6, 2013 – Battery: Jonchuck was arrested for battering his mother, Michele Jonchuck, during the course of an argument.

April 23, 2014 – Battery: Jonchuck and a male acquaintance got into a physical altercation. Both parties refused to press charges.

Carter also added that The Florida Department of Children and Families said they were gathering additional information in this case and will provide more details as soon as they are available.

There were also other charges listed against Jonchuck from the Tampa Police Department which included a DUI in June, 2013 and numerous charges of battery and forged checks.

Michelle Kerr admitted to Fox 13 to having a history of domestic issues with John. “I fear his violent episodes… he takes a lot of medication and is very aggressive at times,” she said in a filing for a restraining order against Jonchuck last April. He is returned filed an injunction against her claiming she threatened him, was sending him pornographic images of herself and he claimed that her boyfriend had it out with him

Both were denied by the courts.

It sounds to me like this man should have been behind bars before he had the chance to kill his daughter. Why in the world weren’t there charges against him held up in court for all these arrests? Why didn’t someone press charges on him? Why didn’t the Florida Department of Children and Families take this child away from him? If he was taking meds and had aggressive issues then why did he have custody to begin with?

If ONLY someone would have did the right thing this precious 5 year old little girl would be alive today. Why did she have to pay for his mistakes with her life? It just isn’t right. My thoughts and prayers are with this child. I know she is not in any pain now and Jesus will be taking care of her, but she would also still be here on earth if only someone would have only thought about this twice before letting this man have his freedom.

God bless you Phoebe Jonchuck!

Jan Barrett

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