(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — A five-year-old girl was tossed over the side of a 60-foot-high bridge by her father early Thursday, St. Petersburg, Florida, police said. Afterwards, they found the lifeless body of Phoebe Jonchuck.
John Nicholas Jonchuck Jr. was later charged with first degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer.
The incident occurred on the approach to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
According to a police report, an officer, chasing a speeding driver later identified as Jonchuck, saw the suspect stop his car and toss the child from the bridge before driving away.
Following a pursuit, Jonchuck was stopped about 30 minutes later and arrested.
Rescue crews retrieved the girl from the water but they could not resuscitate her, police said.
A medical examiner’s report is expected to reveal whether the girl was still alive before she was thrown off the bridge.
Police don’t have a motive for the alleged incident. Jonchuck, 25, was previously arrested for battery against Michelle Kerr, the mother of the girl. Nonetheless, he had custody of his daughter.
St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez said police are stunned by the incident.
“We have no idea why anybody would do something like this as to throw a child over a railing of a bridge into the water, let alone on a night like this and the temperatures and conditions that we have today,” she told ABC television affiliate WFTS.
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