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‘I just killed my son...I am hearing voices’ — Parma man charged with murder of 5-year-old boy

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Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 19:09:22-04

PARMA, Ohio — A 31-year-old Parma man accused of killing his 5-year-old child has been charged for the boy’s death.

Matthew J. Ponomarenko is charged with one count of aggravated murder, according to Parma police.

Ponomarenko was arrested Thursday afternoon after Parma police responded to a home in the 4700 block of Russell Avenue, authorities said. The child was later identified as Jax Ponomarenko.

A preliminary cause of death hasn’t been released.

In the 911 call released by police, the father can be heard telling the dispatcher that he just killed his son.

Dispatch: "What is the problem?"
Ponomarenko: “I just killed my son.”
Dispatch: "What do you mean you just killed your son?"
Ponomarenko: “I am hearing voices.”
Dispatch: "Where is your son now?"
Ponomarenko: “He’s dead”
Dispatch: "Dead where?"
Ponomarenko: “In the living room.”

In the recording, Ponomarenko told the dispatcher he killed his son with a baseball bat.

Throughout the day Friday, community members added to a growing memorial of flowers, balloons and stuffed animals outside the family's home.

"He was a baby, you know?" said Anthony Stankiewicz who said he didn't know Jax, but wanted to pay his respects. "He never had a chance and to be treated like that is just devastating."

Nathaniel Turner, who said he's a longtime friend of the family said he never expected the kind of violence police said occurred.

"I don't see why he would," said Turner. "None of it makes any sense at all. My heart is, I can't feel it right now to be honest. I've got the biggest hole in my stomach. It's upsetting."

The Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services stated there is not currently an open investigation involving the family, but there have been investigations at the home in the past. The most recent DCFS contact with the family was in 2019.

Ponomarenko is currently being held in jail. Authorities said they are going to request that he be held without bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 29.

RELATED: 5-year-old boy killed in Parma, boy's father arrested, police say

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