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Florida Dad Charged With Murder — Accused Of Throwing His Daughter, 5, Off Bridge

Thu, January 8, 2015 3:09pm EDT by 3 Comments
Courtesy of Pinellas County Jail/Facebook

So heartbreaking. A Florida man has been accused of throwing his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge. The little girl, Phoebe Jonchuck, fell 62 feet to her death.

John Jonachuk, the biological father of Phoebe Jonchuck, has been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding, and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer after he allegedly threw his daughter off the Dick Misener Bridge in St. Petersburg, Fla., killing her.

Florida Father Accused Of Throwing His Little Girl, 5, Off Of A Bridge

An off-duty police officer witnessed the shocking crime after spotting John driving erratically at about 100 m.p.h. After a brief chase, John pulled over on the bridge and the officer watched in horror as the suspect allegedly threw his daughter into the water.

“The man reached into the back seat and grabbed the girl,” police spokesman Mike Puetz tells People magazine. “Then he threw her over the railing and into the water.”

Though the officer couldn’t stop John, he did everything in his power to save Phoebe.

“He climbed down a ladder down one of the pylons,” Mike says. “He couldn’t see her, because the current is extremely strong there.”

John Jonachuk Charged With First-Degree Murder

Other officers caught up with and arrested John, charging him with first-degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding, and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer. His bond hearing will be on the afternoon of Jan. 8.

Police don’t know what the man’s motive was. “You just can’t get inside someone’s head to know why they’d do that,” Mike says. “It’s just tragic.”

— Tierney McAfee