Phoebe Jade Jonchuck
August 22, 2009  - January 8, 2015
Find A Grave Memorial

It breaks my heart to know that the Department Of Children And Families is admitting ONCE again, that they could have done more to protect a child who eventually ended up dead at the hands of a parent. After another Angel lost her life, DCF decided to change the policy for hot line calls. Just a few hours before John Jonchuck killed his daughter Phoebe by throwing her off of a bridge, there had been a call to the child abuse hot line at 2:45 p.m. that day saying that he was acting odd, driving in the car in his pajamas with Phoebe in the car and he seemed to be depressed, yet the call didn't appear to cause anyone to suspect anything was about to happen.

After Phoebe died, DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said that there was a review of the case taking place and there had been at least three investigations involving this family and changes had already been made as a result of this case:

"The horrible nature of this little girl’s murder at the hands of her father is heart
wrenching and demands our most immediate and thorough response. The multidisciplinary
review team will be on the ground in Tampa tomorrow working with the Hillsborough County
Sheriff's Office Child Protection Investigation Division to review all the details of the
involvement with this family. We must do everything we can at DCF to prevent any
and all harm to precious children like Phoebe. After the tragic loss of Phoebe, the
department is immediately changing our Hotline criteria to include a trigger for when a
caregiver is believed to be experiencing a psychotic episode that would require a CPI visit within
 four hours and a notification to law enforcement. We have to do more for the children, like
Phoebe, who depend on us to protect them"

Michele Lynn Jonchuck, Phoebe's grandmother was going to pick her up from school on the day she died. Michelle said that the last time she saw her son John and Phoebe, she had no indications that anything was wrong, everything seemed to be fine, they both acted as they normally would.

Phoebe's life was cut short, but in the time she lived, she was witness to her parents fighting and she lived in different homes. Even with the negative things that happened in her life, Phoebe was said to always be smiling, with her long curly hair she kept like the Disney Princesses that she loved so much. Michelle Kerr had been with Phoebe's father, John Jonchuck, for about six years and there were many times Police had to be called for domestic violence and John had been charged on several occasions, though the charges always seemed to get dropped and he never ended up paying for anything he did. Michelle had a record of her own which included child neglect, petty theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. John was the parent who had custody of Phoebe and they lived with his parents. Reports say that Phoebe loved her father, the two were said to be very close with John being a doting father. For reasons unknown, Phoebe was afraid of water and didn't like to take baths.

On January 8, 2015, John spoke with his Attorney and the conversation scared her to the point that she called Police and even asked herself if she should keep Phoebe with her. John was calling her God and asking that she translate a Bible that was written in Swedish. Genevieve Torres called 911 and told the operator that when she had spoken with John and asked him if she should file the papers for his custody case he said it didn't matter and wasn't going to matter any more:

"That really scared me. He was out of his mind"

A Sheriff's Deputy spoke to John, Phoebe appeared to be happy and John told him that everything was fine and he had no plans to harm Phoebe or himself and in face had new clarity in his life. Just 12 hours later, a Police Officer saw John speeding through town in his car. John parked his car on the bridge and when Police told him to stay in the car, he ignored them, reached over the passenger seat to get Phoebe, walked to  to the side of the bridge and dropped her into the water below and then he turned and walked away. A Police officer said that he might have heard her scream before she was dropped, leading to speculation that she had been alive when she was dropped. In John's car they found a pink booster seat, a cell phone and unidentified religious items. Phoebe's body was found about a mile away from the bridge about an two hours later. John was arrested and charged with first degree murder and held without bond.

Michelle Kerr said that John and Phoebe had a good relationship:

"I always saw him as a good dad. She would always say: I love you daddy. She
loved her dad"

In his first court appearance John was asked if he wanted an attorney, John said:

"I want to leave it in the hands of God"

The Judge let him know that it wasn't appropriate:

"I'm pretty sure God's not going to be representing you in this case. You're
going to be standing trial"

The Police in St. Petersburg, Florida were asking for help from the public to find information about the days leading up to the death of Phoebe. John is believed to have spoken to members of the church he attended and Police would like to speak to anyone from the church who had conversations with John in the days before he killed his daughter. Police would also like to speak to anyone who was witness to John driving around town in his PT Cruiser in the days before Phoebe's death. Police are trying to establish a timeline of events leading up to the death of this precious little Angel and any help would be appreciated. Anyone with information was urged to call Detective Kenneth Miller at 727-892-5916 or text SPPD and any information anyone has to TIP411.

The owner of the daycare that Phoebe attended said that they had been homeless in 2013 after John had injured his back falling in a restaurant and that he didn't have a job. She allowed them to stay at her house for about six months up until the time John started to argue with her and she asked him to leave. After they left, she said John called Child Protective Services on her:

"He was very revengeful, he tried to ruin me"

Michelle agreed with that opinion of John, saying that she had visited Phoebe and John on Christmas Eve and that everything had gone well, Michelle had no way of knowing that it would be the time she saw Phoebe alive. John called CPS later and made false allegation against Michelle:

"He does the Jekyll and Hyde. It's just something that goes on his head,
he just wasn't wired right"

As of today's date, January 11, 2015, the only obituary information I can find is listed below:


In Memory Of
Phoebe Jade Jonchuck
August 22, 2009 - January 8, 2015

Arrangements under the direction of Blount & Curry FH-Carrollwood, TAMPA, FL.


In Memory of Phoebe Jade Jonchuck August 22, 2009 - January 8, 2015

JONCHUCK, Phoebe “Princess Angel”, 5, a precious life taken too soon, passed away on January 8, 2015.

She had a smile that would captivate the room and a heart that loved unconditionally. Phoebe will be missed deeply by all that knew and loved her.

She is survived by her grandparents, Michele Jonchuck (Maw Maw) & Chuck Jonchuck (Papa); grandmother, Micki Jonchuck; great-grandparents, Steve and Susan Morris; uncles, Bryan Morris (Bryee) and Tim Maynard(Timee) (life partner) , Keith Dobbs , Dennis Dobbs; aunt Nichole & uncle Steven Smith; great aunt, Judy Kersey; cousins; Emma Smith, Abby Smith, Breanna Kersey, Doug and Brenda Kersey, Savanah and Anthony Dobbs; mother, Michelle Kerr; siblings, Valyn and Lilly Andorpher.

A visitation will be held at the Blount & Curry Funeral Home- Carrollwood Chapel, 3207 W. Bearss Avenue, Tampa, on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 from 4:00-8:00 pm. Phoebe’s funeral service will be held at Lake Magdalene Methodist Church, 2902 W. Fletcher Avenue, Tampa on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 10:00 am.

Phoebe will be laid to rest at Lake Carroll Cemetery. Phoebe loved to wear bright colors and the family hopes you will wear bright colors in her memory to the visitation and to the funeral.

Donations may be made in Phoebe's name to Cleveland Elementary School, 723 E. Hamilton Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604. (813) 276-5583

I want to thank Charlene for sending me this story and allowing Phoebe to be memorialized on this site.

UPDATE: February 11, 2015

Today, two different Doctors statements were released in the case of John Jonchuck and those reports say that John is mentally incompetent. A competency hearing was set for February 17, 2015. At the hearing Lawyers will be able to debate the meaning of the evaluations done by the Doctors. If a trial is to take place, the Judge will have to decide if John is mentally stable enough to understand the charges against him and what happens if he gets convicted.

If John happens to be found in competent, he will be placed in a treatment center in order to receive treatment that will allow him to go to trial if upon being reevaluated he is found to be competent.
This page was created on January 11, 2015

Death occurred in the state of Florida

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