TAMPA (FOX 13) - Today marks one year since the heartbreaking death of 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck, who was killed after police said her father threw her over a bridge.
The case left an imprint on the Tampa Bay area as one of the most horrific cases in recent memory.
Phoebe was a kindergarten student at Cleveland Elementary School in Tampa. Students and teachers were devastated by the loss of Phoebe and remembered her by drawing pictures for her. Her family said Phoebe loved wearing bright colors
Police said her father, John Jonchuck, sped toward the Sunshine Skyway Bridge early January 8, 2015 and passed a police officer, who followed him to the Dick Misener Bridge.
According to the officer, Jonchuck said something to him, which he couldn't hear clearly, and then walked over to the passenger door, took his 5-year-old daughter into his arms, tucked her head toward his chest and threw her over the rail into the water.
Jonchuck was found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
"Phoebe is an ever presence in our family. We find pennies even when they weren't there five minutes prior , see butterflies, (Phoebe loved Butterflies) we talk about her and keep her with us. She will always continue being loved and never forgotten. Me, as well as my daughters, know that she is with God and dancing and singing on the rainbows. She is always with us," Nichole, Phoebe's aunt, told FOX 13 News.
Friday, a Bay Area man plans to begin running for three days - nonstop - to help keep Phoebe's memory alive and to raise money for children just like her at Shriners Hospitals for Children. Phoebe's grandmother, Michele Jonchuck, plans to be there.
A caretaker of the cemetery where Phoebe is buried says a new headstone went up at her gravesite this week to honor the little girl. It has a photo of her with a halo, surrounded by a rainbow and butterflies, which Phoebe loved.