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Police Seeking Info on Events Leading to Death of 5-Year-Old

Jan 9, 2015

Phoebe Jonchuck
Credit Jonchuck family photo

St. Petersburg police detectives want to talk to members of the clergy who spoke with John Jonchuck, as well as anyone else who saw the man in the hours before he allegedly killed his five-year-old daughter Phoebe Wednesday.

Investigators say Jonchuck may have spoken with members of the clergy or churches in the Tampa Bay area in the days before he allegedly dropped his daughter off a bridge after a short chase involving law enforcement.

Detectives also want to speak to anyone who saw Jonchuck, his daughter, or the PT Cruiser he was driving Wednesday afternoon and evening. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Kenneth Miller at 727-892-5916, or text SPPD and the information to TIP411.

Investigators say, based on preliminary evidence, Phoebe is believed to have been alive when Jonchuck threw her from a bridge approaching the Sunshine Skyway.

Jonchuck was driving about 100 mph when Officer William Vickers saw him shortly after midnight Wednesday. (See video of Jonchuck speeding through a tollbooth approaching the bridge below)

By the time the officer caught up with him, Jonchuck had pulled over on the approach span to the bridge.

St. Petersburg police Chief Anthony Holloway said Wednesday that Jonchuck got out and started toward Vickers, who pulled his weapon. Jonchuck grabbed Phoebe from the back seat and "held her face to his chest" as he carried her to the railing, according to Holloway.

Holloway said Vickers "thought he heard the child scream." Because he is the main eyewitness, the officer is not speaking to the media.

Phoebe's body was recovered about a mile from the bridge about two hours later. An autopsy and cause of death is pending.

Investigators conducted a search of Jonchuck's PT cruiser and collected a pink booster seat, a cellphone, and religious items.