Just about a year ago, child advocates and attorneys who represent children who have been harmed by child abuse, sex abuse and other personal injuries were aghast at the story of Phoebe Jonchuck, the 5-year-old Central Florida girl whose father, John, threw her from a bridge into Tampa Bay. We all were left to wonder how a father could kill his daughter, what authorities might have known about Mr. Jonchuck’s and Phoebe’s lives leading up to this horrific event, and how it could have been prevented.
The Tampa Bay Times recently wrote a compelling story that compiles police, court and Florida Department of Children and Families records to recreate the brief history of Phoebe’s life. Reporters spoke with Phoebe’s mother and other relatives; in all, 50 people helped paint the story of the little girl – “a happy child who helped her kindergarten classmates zip their jackets and brought out the best in everyone who loved her. And they knew her father, a violent and unstable man.”
Read their story in The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck. As with every such story, readers are encouraged to take away an important message: If you see something, say something. If you witness child abuse, sex abuse or other harm or personal injury being inflicted on a child, contact the authorities or a child advocate or child abuse attorney who can help the child find safety and justice.