Who Is Jon Jonchuck? New Details About The Man Who Threw His 5-Year-Old Daughter Over A Bridge And Killed Her

What drove him to kill his own daughter?

Who Is Jon Jonchuck? New Details About The Man Who Threw His 5-Year-Old Daughter Over A Bridge And Killed Her

Who is John Jonchuck? In January 2015, Jonchuck tossed his five-year-old daughter, Phoebe, off a bridge. A police officer watched him pull over, remove Phoebe from the back seat, and drop her over the edge.

While Jonchuck maintained that he had a history of mental problems and may have had a psychotic break, prosecutors argued that Phoebe’s murder was premeditated. And after four weeks of testimony and seven hours of deliberation, a jury found Jonchuck guilty of first-degree murder. The verdict carries an automatic life sentence.


Jonchuck alleges that he was hearing voices,and according to public record, “I was hearing voices saying that if me and Phoebe didn’t die, everybody was going to go to hell.” Since his arrest, he’s received treatment in a mental hospital, but he revealed these details to a psychiatrist during a two-day evaluation in October 2017 and May 2018. The psychiatrist asked who was going to die, with Jonchuck responding, “Everybody in the world.”

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He also said to the psychiatrist, “I think about her every night, in the mornings when I wake up,” and that he still has “bad dreams” in which Phoebe is “laying there” and he “can’t get her to wake up.” Why? “Because I was a really good father and she loved me so much and I always promised her that I’m not going to let anything happen, and I did.”


Jessica Manuele, Jonchuck’s public defender, told the jury that her client loved his daughter, and that delusions and archangel Michael led him to believe that Phoebe was possessed. Manuele also claimed that Jonchuck poured salt outside his daughter’s window to keep the spirits away and “he thought he was protecting his daughter.”

Genevieve Torres, his divorce lawyer, called the child protection hotline 12 hours before Phoebe died, fearing for her safety. She said Jonchuck drove to three churches in his pajamas with Phoebe, called Torres “God,” and then asked her to translate a Swedish Bible that he carried with him and had become obsessed with. The operator didn’t report the call to the police.

The next day, shortly after midnight, Jonchuck was seen by police officer William Vickers, who witnessed him throw his daughter over the bridge. Vickers followed Jonchuck before the murder, and as they reached the bridge, pulled his gun on Jonchuck and told him to show his hands.


He replied, “You have no free will,” grabbed Phoebe from the backseat, and dropped her.

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Jonchuck drove off while Vickers tried to save the young girl, climbing down a ladder. A rescue boat was called, and they found her body hours later.

Despite these details, prosecutors claimed he was motivated by anger. Jonchuck feared that Phoebe’s mother would take his daughter away from him.

Prosecutors also allege that he was jealous of his daughter, as she received affection from his own mother that he, himself, never had. Assistant State Attorney, Paul Bolan, said, “It was rage that drove him to it on top of that bridge. Did he know what he was doing, and did he know it was wrong? The answer is clearly yes.”


According to his mother, Michele Jonchuck, “I want to tell him I love him because he’s my son. But when it comes to what he’s done, I hate him. He took my sunshine away.”

What was the real motive behind the murder of Phoebe?



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During the trial, multiple mental health experts, police officers, friends, family members, and forensic psychiatrists testified, painting a picture of Jonchuck’s past. According to testimony, he was always troubled, desperate for attention, and had violent outbursts. His parents separated when he was a young child, and he spent his time between his dad and uncle’s houses. His mom was mostly absent from his life. Psychologists said his abandonment issues left him angry.


In his youth, he was arrested when he was 12 for threatening his dad with a knife, often had bruises and black eyes, and told his friends his father beat him. Though he was loud and popular in school, and despite CPS investigating his dad four times, he was never arrested. He dropped out of school when he was 17, and was Baker Act-ed 27 times.

His late teen years are even more heartbreaking. He spent his time bouncing from couch to couch, doing drugs like meth and working at a strip club. He eventually met Michelle Kerr, Phoebe’s mother, who said he was sweet, and then he’d “go all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” They moved in together and she became pregnant. She was later diagnosed with MS, and Jonchuck said he’d take care of their daughter.

No matter his motive, we hope Phoebe’s family can finally sleep well knowing she’s at peace, and has received justice.


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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.