Ohio Dad Kills Autistic 5-Year-Old Son With Baseball Bat After 'Hearing Voices'
An Ohio dad has been charged with aggravated murder after beating his autistic five-year-old son to death with a baseball bat. He told authorities that he did it after hearing voices.
Matthew Ponomarenko called 911 on Thursday to report that he had just killed his son, Jax Ponomarenko, after hearing voices and that the boy's body was in the living room, according to a Crime Online report.
The 31-year-old suspect has reportedly been quiet as the 911 dispatcher continued to ask him questions to keep him on the phone until police arrived on the scene.
Ponomarenko said he's "shaking" when asked when did he kill his son. When asked again when did it happen, the Ohio dad never answered the question and was completely silent, except for heavy breathing. Until the Ohio dad told the operator that "they're here," and hung up the phone.
Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan confirmed Thursday that the county's Department of Children and Families closed out an investigation into Ponomarenko, Cleveland reported.
Madigan said the county has been monitoring and working with the family on parenting skills after a child-endangering case against Ponomarenko in 2017. However, she noted that the county has not been in contact with the family since 2019.
The five-year-old boy was autistic and used an electronic device to communicate, Fox News reported. The boy's uncle said that Ponomarenko had recently been admitted to a behavioral health facility and was not taking his medication.
"My mom dropped him off today. He was fine; he was vibrant, completely content, and all of a sudden, we get hit with all this," the relative said in a Cleveland19 report.
In July 2017, police found Ponomarenko and his then one-year-old son naked near Pleasant Lake Boulevard and York Road. Ponomarenko was allegedly high on drugs and was yelling at random people.
Ponomarenko's mother reportedly called 911 and told the dispatcher that his son was having a mental breakdown.
Jennifer Johnson of the Canopy Child Advocacy Center said a family situation involving a child to turn fatal is rare and far more common in homes where psychological illnesses are untreated.
Johnson added that it does not mean that a child is abused because a parent has a mental health issue. She noted that it just means that they're a higher risk if not managed well and maintained.
The Ohio dad is scheduled to be arraigned on Mar. 29 before Parma Municipal Court Judge Ken Spanagel.
Neighbors, who were heartbroken about the incident, set up a memorial for the boy in front of the home.
Amanda Bohach and her 11-year-old son put a stuffed bunny and some colorful flowers. Bohach said that she's sad and mad at the same time.
"I just realized it just sucks being this close to home and across from a school... The timing is also really bad -- kids were getting off the school bus," she said in a report.
Donald White, who also lives near the home, said there's no words for it, adding that the incident is "heartbreaking," according to a New York Post report.
Ryan Powell, a neighbor, said the incident was upsetting, adding that it happened right across from the school. Tributes are growing outside the family's home. Jax's toys remained in the driveway, and neighbors said it is a reminder of life senselessly taken.
One relative close to the family asked for the privacy of the family during this time. She described Jax as delicate and full of life, according to a News 5 Cleveland report.
WATCH: Parma, Ohio Man Admits to Killing His 5-Year-Old Son With Baseball Bat - From WKYC Channel 3
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