Mourners adorned in clothing from the whole spectrum of the rainbow wept during this five-year old’s funeral yesterday. Pink balloons, flowers and a teddy bear sat on her coffin as her family mourned the loss of life that even police are struggling to understand.
Five-year old Phoebe Jonchuck had long, curly hair. She had a wide smile that engulfed all who met her. She, like most five-year old girls loved princesses and drawing – cats in particular.
She was the light of her family.
The girl who made them complete.
She, like many five-year olds hated having her hair washed, and in particular she hated baths and water.
But it was water where her life ended.
This tragic irony lost on no one. For Phoebe Jonchuck is now dead, gone a week after her 25-year old father threw her off a bridge to her death.
Phoebe’s tragic death
News reports came out thick and fast last Thursday night in the US. A police officer had seen a male driving erratically.
It was reported that he had hurled an object from his car, off a bridge into the icy water of the river below.
There were fears it was a child.
The fears turned to reality.
ABC News reports that the office saw the man, John Jonchuck from Florida in the US, hurl the little girl from the Dick Misener Bridge at the mouth of Tampa Bay.
The police officer who witnessed this father throw his daughter into the swirling water immediately climbed down a service ladder on the bridge in an attempt to save her.
Jonchuck drove off again, after 30 minute chase he was finally arrested.
Police said they believe Phoebe was alive at the time she was hurled from the bridge but drowned in the water below.
Tragically reports of John Jonchuck’s erratic behavior are now beginning to emerge.
WFTV reports that just hours before Phoebe’s death Jonchuck was in his lawyer’s office to sign custody paperwork, with Phoebe in tow.
Genevieve Torres said that he “rambled about his attorney being God.” When he left she called emergency services.
“He’s nuts,” Torres told the dispatcher.
“He’s out of his mind, and he has a minor child with him. He’s driving to a church now, and I should have kept the child.”
The police responding to the call found John Jonchuk at church, and after talking to him Phoebe found her to be safe.
And it wasn’t just the police, the Department of Children and Families hotline reported that they received a call only days before Phoebe’s death voicing concerns that her ex, John Jonchuck was unstable.
The department noted the call for a caseworker to handle at a later date. But as we know, this never eventuated.
“He was definitely a Jekyll and Hyde”
Phoebe’s mother, Michelle Kerr told WFTS that she allowed Phoebe to live with her father in July because she was unable to care for her daughter due to her multiple sclerosis.
Her mother said there had been a history of domestic violence in her relationship and that Jonchuck and her had broken up when Phoebe was born.