04/27/16 Human Interest
In the morning, after driving her kids to school, after twisting silk flowers into her strawberry hair, Sheri Kendrick slides a memory card into her camera and heads to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
She steers to the top of the parking garage, onto the roof, and always takes the sunniest spot.
For a while, she sits in her quiet car, trying to clear her head. Forget about her kids; they're fine. Forget about the rent; the landlord will understand. Forget about that fight with her boyfriend, that session with her therapist. For the next few hours, she has to focus....
ST. PETERSBURG — John Jonchuck, the 26-year-old man accused of dropping his daughter off the Dick Misener Bridge, is still incompetent to stand trial, according to a report from the court doctor, which was read during a hearing Tuesday.
Jonchuck will be returned to a state mental hospital to continue treatment. Another hearing to determine if he can face first-degree murder charges will be held Oct. 18, according to public defender Jessica Manuele....
CLEARWATER — John Jonchuck, the 26-year-old man accused of dropping his daughter off the Dick Misener bridge, will have a competency hearing Tuesday to determine if he is fit to stand trial.
Jonchuck's hearing had been scheduled for April 18, but his new public defender, Jane McNeill, said that he had not been taking all of his medications in the Pinellas County Jail, so the judge postponed the hearing until Tuesday....
CLEARWATER — The competency hearing for John Jonchuck, 26, that was scheduled for this morning has been delayed until April 26. Jonchuck, who had not been back to court in more than a year, was to appear this morning to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. But his new public defender, Jane McNeill, said that he had not been taking all of his medications.
Jonchuck will be reevaluated by a psychologist....
CLEARWATER — John Jonchuck, the 26-year-old man accused of dropping his daughter off the Dick Misener bridge, returned to the Pinellas County jail today.
Jonchuck, whose 5-year-old daughter Phoebe died Jan. 8, 2015, had been in a state mental hospital for more than a year while doctors tried to determine whether he's competent to stand trial for first-degree murder. In February, a judge ruled that he was not, and scheduled another competency hearing for June. ...
CLEARWATER — More than a year after being accused of dropping his 5-year-old daughter off the Dick Misener bridge, John Jonchuck, 26, still is not competent to stand trial, his court-appointed lawyer said Tuesday.
Assistant Public Defender Kandice Friesen cited a report from doctors at the state mental hospital where Jonchuck is being held, and said later that she has been unable to meet with her client....
02/10/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — At the edge of the midway, where the air tastes like turkey legs, the young couple keeps kissing behind their booth: Fool the Guesser.
They drove here in a diesel truck, through six states, and five other carnivals. Last week, they landed at the Florida State Fair in Tampa where they erected the green-and-blue tarp and set up their giant silver scale rimmed with white bulbs. They hung shiny vampires and stuffed monkeys and the most coveted prize of all: big blow-up bananas....
A year ago, a man drove to the top of a bridge, held his 5-year-old daughter over the side and let go.
It was a horrifying act that left a community shaken. He must have been crazy. It was the only thing that made sense. No one could have predicted this, his family said. He loved his daughter, Phoebe. And yet, for years, police had documented violence between Phoebe's parents, and child protection workers had visited her home five times. Seven times, people called the abuse hotline, fearing for her safety. And still, no one stopped it....
Eight months after being accused of dropping his 5-year-old daughter off the Dick Misener bridge, John Jonchuck, 25, still is not competent to stand trial, his court-appointed lawyer said Tuesday.
"The hospital issued a report in July, where doctors declared him incompetent, and that still stands," assistant public defender Kandice Friesen said after a brief appearance before Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Chris Helinger....
09/04/15 Human Interest
All year, I watched our son plan his escape.
He started designing his dorm room in June, downloading the dimensions, measuring to make sure all his computer equipment would fit, ordering a tapestry of his favorite band to blanket the wall above his new bed.
"I'm ready," he kept telling me. "I got this."
For him, summer seemed too long.
For me, college orientation arrived like an ambush....
He hoped someone would pick him up from the bus station. After riding almost five hours from Miami, he pressed his face against the window, searching for a friend or stranger.
His high school buddy, Sean, had to set up the tailgate party. Michael, who was letting him crash at his place, was at a funeral. Michael's wife wasn't allowed to come to the games. She was bad luck.
So Mason Bradford, 24, had posted a plea on the fan club's Facebook page, asking for a ride from the Tampa bus station to the arena for Saturday's hockey game. Plenty of people had said they would try to help, but no one had promised....
06/02/15 Human Interest
TAMPA — For weeks, the kindergarteners worked on their stepping stones, studying the shapes, penciling their plans, picking out pieces for the presents they were making for Phoebe — their friend who was "up in Cloud School."
"I miss Phoebe," one girl wrote beside a smiley face.
"I luv Febe," another inscribed above two stick figures holding hands.
The girl who had sat next to Phoebe Jonchuck, who had been her first best friend, drew an angel with curly hair, a steep smile, and fluttery wings. "Phoebe," she sketched, "You are my friend!"...
05/08/15 Human Interest
When she got the call, Lindsay told herself not to get excited. So many things could still go wrong. Remember what happened last time?
But she couldn't help it. Her heart was racing, her stomach tight. When she told her husband, her voice shook, "The baby is coming."
Three states away, a woman they had never met was in labor.
If they drove all night from Franklin, Tenn., they might get to the Florida hospital in time for the birth of the boy they hoped would become their son....
Hospices started opening in the United States in the 1970s, primarily for cancer patients who chose not to continue treatment. Over the years, hospices have evolved to also care for people suffering from heart and lung disease, dementia and other progressive ailments.
If a doctor thinks someone has less than six months to live, that person can qualify for services. Hospice agencies provide doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains to help patients ease toward their end, often at home....
04/22/15 Human Interest
CLEARWATER — He looked straight ahead as he threaded through the crowded courtroom, packed with more than 50 people who had filled in for his family.
His social worker was there, his mentor, his last foster mom. Even that lady from the church where he had stood up, more than a year ago, and asked someone to adopt him.
Davion Navar Henry Only, 17, walked past them all on Wednesday and slid into a wooden chair, facing the judge. His former caseworker, Connie Going, sat beside him. His face was blank. She couldn't stop smiling....