Home / Officer who witnessed 5-year-old’s death speaks out for the first time

Officer who witnessed 5-year-old’s death speaks out for the first time


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WTSP)- It’s an unforgettable, disturbing crime. Five-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck allegedly thrown off a Florida bridge by her own father.

Now, the only witness to her death was honored for his rescue efforts.

“I’m the only witness to a terrible tragedy.”

St. Petersburg Officer Drew Vickers will never forget the early hours of January 8.

“I was heading home, a couple of minutes later than I normally leave, and saw a speeding vehicle.”

He says the speeding vehicle was that of Jon Jonchuck, also inside was 5-year-old Phoebe.

“On initial contact, I was concerned for a gunfight.”

But there was no gun, just Phoebe.

“When I saw him discard Phoebe over the side of the bridge, my immediate concern was please let me see her in the water so we can help her.  But unfortunately, we didn’t see her in the water.”

Officer Vickers climbed down the ladder that was on the Dick Meisner Bridge, hoping there might be a chance he could spot her down below and rescue her.

“My thought process was please, please, please let me hear something.”

Unfortunately, he never did.

“As a law enforcement officer, we’re here for victims.”

Now he says months after her death, it’s his responsibility to be Phoebe’s voice so justice can be served for the 5-year-old who’s no longer here.

“I can’t think of a victim, other than a child, who needs that voice as much and that’s why it’s so important.”

A judge ruled Jonchuck is not competent to stand trial. He is in a prison mental facility until he’s able to understand the first degree murder charge he is facing.