DCF Head Carroll Briefs Lawmakers On Latest In 5-Year-Old's Tragic Death

Feb 4, 2015

Phoebe Jonchuck, 5, was found dead last month after she was allegedly thrown off a bridge by her father. DCF Officials say not one, but two hotline calls went ignored warning the state to step in.
Credit Family of Phoebe Jonchuck's Facebook

In less than a week, officials will publish a state report asking whether the tragic death of a little girl last month could have been prevented as part of an investigation. But, a panel of lawmakers got a bit of a preview Wednesday.

Hours before Phoebe Jonchuck was thrown over a bridge allegedly by her father, the state’s child abuse hotline received a warning call that went ignored. It’s a call that’s gotten quite a bit of media attention.

But, speaking to members of the House Children, Families, and Seniors subcommittee Wednesday, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll says that wasn’t the only warning.

“One of the things that’s kind of anomaly in there is we did have not one, but two hotline calls—one: the day everyone knows about that call. We also received a call. I’m not sure the date because I don’t have the report in front of me, but I think it was the week before. In hindsight, looking at those calls, we should have accepted them both, and we probably should have accepted them both and we probably should have initiated an investigation on dad,” said Carroll.

Carroll says the report will also highlight what he calls “systemic issues.”

“The second piece of this is it looks at the history of what we did in that case,” he added. “And, it does appear we had issues in that assessment of that case. And, Dad was allowed custody of that child, and there were really no services put in place for that child. And, so, you’ll see that’s going to be a finding too.”

Carroll says he expects the full findings of what went wrong in Phoebe’s case to be done by Monday at the latest.

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