PARMA, Ohio (WOIO) - A five-year-old boy was murdered Thursday afternoon and police said the child’s father is under arrest and charged with aggravated murder.
Parma police said they were called out to the home in the 4700 block of Russell Avenue around 2 p.m. after the dad, Matthew Ponomarenko, called 911 and said he just killed his son after hearing voices.
Ponomarenko told the 911 dispatcher he beat his son with a baseball bat and his body was on the living room floor.
According to officers, Ponomarenko, 31, was taken into custody at the scene.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner identified the child as Jax Ponomarenko.
Detectives, crime scene investigators, and the Medical Examiner’s Office were on the scene for hours, gathering evidence and taking photographs of the crime scene.
Johnathan Cherni, the uncle of the five-year-old, says he was an amazing child. He was autistic and learned to use a tablet to communicate.
Cherni also tells 19 News that the boy’s father was recently released from a behavioral health center and was off of his medication, but earlier in the day, he appeared 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.”
Neighbors were devastated after hearing a child was the victim. Amanda Bohach and her 11-year-old son walked over to the home and put a stuffed animal and flowers by a tree in front of the home to pay their respects, “I’m super sad, and you know, mad all at the same time. I just realized it just sucks being this close to home and across from a school that’s right over there. The timing is also really bad -- kids were getting off the school bus.”
Ponomarenko will be arraigned on March 29 in Parma Municipal Court.