It breaks my heart to
know that the Department Of Children And Families is
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:
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
four hours and a notification to law
enforcement. We have to do more for the
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:
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
always saw him as a good dad. She would always
say: I love you daddy. She
In his first court appearance John was asked if he
wanted an attorney, John said:
want to leave it in the hands of God"
The Judge let him know that it wasn't appropriate:
pretty sure God's not going to be representing
you in this case. You're
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
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:
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:
does the Jekyll and Hyde. It's just something
that goes on his head,
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
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,
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
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.
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