Police in Ohio released the harrowing 911 audio of a father confessing to murdering his 5-year-old son.
Matthew J. Ponomarenko, 31, was charged with aggravated murder Friday for the death of his son, Jax Ponomarenko, police in Parma, Ohio, said. The boy’s uncle said Jax was autistic and communicated with a tablet, WOIO reported.
“I just killed my son,” the father is heard telling the shocked dispatcher.
“What do you mean you just killed your son?” the dispatcher responded without hesitation.
“I’m hearing voices,” Ponomarenko responded.
Ponomarenko goes on to tell the woman that his son is dead in the living room and he used a baseball bat to commit the act. He stayed on the line for more than five minutes with the dispatcher, telling her he did not know why he killed Jax.
The 911 audio can be heard here. Warning, it is disturbing.
Monday, a judge ordered Ponomarenko to stay in jail without bond “due to the brutality of the crime,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
Jax’s uncle, Johnathan Cherni, told WOIO that the father was off his medication after recently being released from a behavioral health center, but he seemed “fine.”
“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,” Cherni told the station.
Ponomarenko previously was found guilty of child endangerment and paid fines from a 2017 incident where police found him and his son, then a 1-year-old, naked, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The father told officers he had taken meth, mushrooms and PCP, and his mother said he was having a mental breakdown, the newspaper reported.
A vigil was held Monday for Jax. His brother sang Jax’s favorite song, “The Wheels on the Bus,” with help from the crowd, WJW reported.
“Dear Jax, you were the best brother I could have ever had,” the brother said, according to WJW. “When you were gonna grow up, I was gonna teach you how to play baseball, basketball and video games. … I always picked with you and played with you and ran around the house with you.”