An Ohio man told a police dispatcher he killed his autistic 5-year-old son — beating him with a baseball bat — after “hearing voices,” according to a harrowing 911 call.
Matthew Ponomarenko, 31, calmly told a dispatcher that he killed his son, Jax, Thursday afternoon at a home in Parma, WOIO reported, citing a portion of the 911 call.
“What’s the problem? Tell me exactly what happened,” a female dispatcher asks.
“I just killed my son,” Ponomarenko replies.
“What do you mean you just killed your son?”
“I’m hearing voices,” Ponomarenko responds.
Ponomarenko then described how he fatally beat his son with a baseball bat, leaving his lifeless little body on the living room floor, WOIO reported.
The father had been recently released from a behavioral health center and was not taking his medication, an uncle of Jax’s, Johnathan Cherni, told the station. But he appeared to be OK prior to the slaying, he added.
“My mom dropped him off today,” Cherni said. “He was fine; he was vibrant, completely content, and all of a sudden, we get hit with all this.”
Ponomarenko was taken into custody at the home and has been charged with aggravated murder. He’s reportedly set to be arraigned Monday.
“There’s just no words for it,” Donald White, who lives near the home, told WKYC. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
Other neighbors set up a memorial for the boy in front of the home.
“I wanted to bring something a little 5-year-old would like,” Amanda Bohach said. “So I got him a stuffed bunny and some colorful flowers.”
A relative of the family has requested privacy following the gruesome slaying, WEWS reported.
Child welfare officials had been to home as recently as 2019, the station reported.
A Cuyahoga County spokeswoman told Cleveland.com its Department of Children and Families closed out an investigation into Ponomarenko after working with the family on parenting skills.
In 2017, Ponomarenko pleaded no contest to a child endangerment charge and was ordered to pay fines after pleading guilty. Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan declined to release further details about the case, Cleveland.com reported.
The 911 call ended as Ponomarenko said that cops had arrived, according to the 5-minute exchange obtained by the website.
“They’re here,” he said before hanging up.