Florida girl dies after father throws her off a bridge: police

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2015 8:53 AM

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida man killed his 5-year-old daughter by throwing her over the side of a bridge early on Thursday, police in St. Petersburg said.

John Jonchuck Jr., 25, was driving about 100 miles per hour when he sped past an officer just after midnight, police said in a statement.

The officer followed in an attempt to stop the driver and found Jonchuck waiting near the top of a bridge over Tampa Bay, said St. Petersburg police Chief Anthony Holloway.

The father walked calmly to open a passenger door, grabbed his daughter and threw her over the bridge railing, Holloway said. He then drove off at a normal speed as the officer began searching for the child.

"You just throw this baby away like it’s nothing," the chief said at a news conference.

Phoebe Jonchuck's body was found in the water, police said.

John Jonchuck was stopped by authorities in Manatee County and taken in custody. He was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer.

Holloway said Jonchuck lived with his parents in Tampa and had custody of the child.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott)