Tampa dad accused of throwing daughter off bridge


My days aren’t always puppies, monster trucks and theme parks.

Often they start with a police press release that lists scant, yet horrifying, details. Then comes coffee, news conferences, a flurry of calls to my editor, quick reads through public records, more coffee and many interviews.

All of that results in a story like this:

Then police encountered John Jonchuck again shortly after midnight Wednesday. He was going about 100 mph toward the Sunshine Skyway bridge. By the time an officer caught up with him, Jonchuck had pulled over on the approach span to the bridge.

Jonchuck got out, and started toward the officer, 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, St. Petersburg police Chief Anthony Holloway said.

It wasn’t clear whether Phoebe was alive when Jonchuck threw her into Tampa Bay about 60 feet below, though the officer said he “thought he heard the child scream,” Holloway said.

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

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