Florida Dad Accused of Throwing Child Off Bridge Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

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A Florida man accused of throwing his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge to her death is mentally incompetent to stand trial, according to two court-appointed doctors, NBC affiliate WFLA reported. John Jonchuck Jr., 25, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Jan. 8 death of his daughter, Phoebe. Jonchuck allegedly threw Phoebe over the edge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida, where she fell 60 feet and drowned.

The state must decide whether it will seek the opinion of a third court-appointed doctor, according to WFLA. If the court also rules that Jonchuck is incompetent, he likely would be sent to a mental health facility for six months and later re-evaluated.

Tuesday's hearing came one day after a report from the Florida Department of Children and Families found that it missed several opportunities in the month before the girl's death to intervene and provide services. The report lists two calls to the Florida Abuse Hotline regarding Phoebe that were screened out, including one on Jan. 7, just 12 hours before her death. At the time of the incident, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office had an open child welfare investigation into Phoebe's non-custodial mother.


— Daniella Silva