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.

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