ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - For the fifth year in a row, dozens of local bikers dedicated their Sunday to honoring the memory of Phoebe Jonchuck- the 5-year-old girl whose death was a bitter end to a beautiful life.
The memorial ride started off at Mr. Joe’s Off The Beach in St. Pete, with over 50 bikers riding their motorcycles in solidarity across the Dick Meisner Bridge -- the same bridge where Phoebe’s father, John Jonchuck, was seen throwing his daughter over the edge to her death.
"My life and my family's life have not been the same. I still can't belive my own son would do such a thing,” said Michele Jonchuck, Phoebe’s grandmother.
Tears were shed and hugs were given as some who didn’t even know Phoebe showed up to support her family, vowing to never let her legacy die.
"Too many people forget things that happen, and a week later, time goes on, we're all busy. We don't want to forget her,” said Mark Hopkins, one of the bikers who participated in Sunday’s memorial ride.
Just weeks ago, John Jonchuck was found guilty of murdering his 5-year-old daughter back in 2015. He was handed a sentence of life in prison. It’s a punishment his mother said she finds fitting.
"I just think that he got what he deserved," Michele Jonchuck said. "And that way, whether he did it on purpose or because he was insane, that way he doesn't have a chance to hurt anybody else again."
After almost five years, the grieving grandmother says the loss of Phoebe haven’t gotten any easier.
"She was my world and my sunshine,” she said between tears. “I miss her more as time passes instead of letting go."
However, Sunday was a celebration as the dozens gathered honored little Phoebe by throwing flowers as bright as her personality into the water.
"She was such a precious little girl representing the future. There can be justice, but there's no end, and that's what part of this is,” said Ken Skinner, another biker who took part in the day’s events.
The floating tribute served as a reminder of a beautiful life that can never be forgotten.
"She was always happy, singing, dancing. She loved school, loved butterflies and rainbows,” Michele Jonchuck said.
The organizers of the day’s event have also created a scholarship fund in Phoebe’s name for people who hope to pursue a degree in the social services field.