St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said officers are trying to determine why a man threw his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge Thursday morning.
Police said the girl was pronounced dead at an area hospital after being pulled from the water.
According to authorities, a St. Petersburg police officer was driving home just after midnight when a Chrysler PT Cruiser drove past him in the southbound lanes on the Dick Misener Bridge at about 100 miles per hour.
According to Holloway, 25-year-old John Nicholas Jonchuck, Jr. was driving the vehicle and stopped at the top of the bridge moments later.
Jonchuck got out of the vehicle, said something inaudible to the approaching officer then took his daughter, Phoebe Jonchuck, out of the car, Holloway said. With his daughter's face buried in his chest, John Jonchuck walked over the railing and threw the girl over the railing into the water 60 feet below, the chief said
It is unclear if the child was alive at the time of the incident although Holloway said the officer said he thought he heard the child scream.
John Jonchuck then got back in his vehicle and drove off.
Jonchuck was stopped driving southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in Manatee County a short time after the incident. Deputies used stop sticks on his vehicle.
Deputies said they had to smash open at least one window to remove Jonchuck from the car.
Holloway said interviews with Jonchuck have not yielded any answers.
"He did not [give any indications why this happened]," Holloway said. "Again, when he got out of the car [Jonchuck] said something but the officer has no idea what he said."
Holloway said Jonchuck did have custody of his daughter and lived with his parents in Tampa. Arrest reports indicate Jonchuck has a history of domestic violence dating back to 2008. He had recently filed a domestic violence injunction against the child's mother but it was dismissed in court.
Detectives spoke to the child's mother and Jonchuck's parents. In an interview with the Associated Press, Michelle Kerr said she last saw her daughter on Christmas Eve. Kerr said her daughter loved her father.
Phoebe Jonchuck was found in the water by a search team from Eckerd College about an hour and 40 minutes after being thrown from the bridge. The current had taken the girl about a mile from where she went in the water.
Paramedics tried reviving the girl before she was rushed to an area hospital. She was pronounced dead a short time later.
Authorities interviewed John Jonchuck overnight to try and determine what led up to the incident. He was transferred from Manatee County to the Pinellas County Jail on murder charges.
He also is facing charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer.
Phoebe Jonchuck was a kindergartner at Cleveland Elementary in Tampa.
A judge denied bond to Jonchuck on Thursday and also ordered a psychologist to check him out.
Jonchuck looked at the ground during most of his first appearances, but when the judge asked him about appointed an attorney for him, he spoke up.
Jonchuck: "I want to leave it in the hands of God."
Judge: "I'm pretty sure god's not going to be representing you in this case and you're going to standing trial. Would you like someone standing next to you as you're standing trial? An attorney?"
Jonchuck: "Yes, someone that is pure and good, not evil."
Judge: "Well, I'm going to do the best I can to give you a pure and good lawyer."