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

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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.