ST PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - For the fourth straight year, bikers in the Tamp Bay area rode from Largo to the Dick Misener Bridge to remember Phoebe Jonchuck.
Phoebe was just 5 years old when deputies say her father, Jon Jonchuck, tossed her from the bridge in 2015. Her body was found a short time later.
The bikers use the tragedy to raise awareness about child abuse, anger, and mental health issues. All three, they say, played a role in the child’s death.
“We’re releasing Phoebe from this world where she suffered, where she had pain and suffering, into the arms of our heavenly father,” said Cindy Runyln, as she dropped a flower into the water at the base of the bridge.
Michele Jonchuck, Phoebe’s grandmother, took part in this year’s ride. She says her granddaughter would have loved seeing so many people come together.
“It makes me feel more at peace because it lets me know that people are remembering her, and that it’s doing other children or teenagers good with the scholarships.”
The Phoebe Jonchuck Scholarship was created by the organizers of the ride, it benefits students preparing for jobs in the social service and mental health fields.
Jon Jonchuck, charged with murder, is awaiting trial. Last year, he was found to be fit to stand trial after a previous court declared him unfit.