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5-year-old girl dies after father tosses her off bridge

Posted at 8:47 AM, Jan 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-08 09:02:44-05

A 5-year-old Florida girl was killed after her father tossed her from a bridge from his car, police said Thursday.

As a St. Petersburg police officer was driving home just after midnight, he saw a car whiz past him, driving about 100 miles per hour, authorities said.

When the car neared the top of the Dick Misener Bridge, the driver stopped.

“The man reached into the back seat, grabbed his little girl, held her under the arms and then threw her over the railing and into water,” St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez told CNN affiliate WFLA.

“The officer heard the splash and immediately tried to climb down underneath the bridge … to try to save her, but the current was very strong there.”

John Nicholas Jonchuck Jr. (SOURCE: Pinellas County Jail)

John Nicholas Jonchuck Jr. (SOURCE: Pinellas County Jail)

WFLA reports that it’s about a 62-foot drop to the water from that point on the bridge.

The father drove off but was later arrested in neighboring Manatee County.

The body of the girl was later recovered.

Police have charged John Jonchuck Jr, 25, with murder in the death of his daughter Phoebe. He is being held at the Pinellas County Jail.

Police have not disclosed a motive.