Breaking News
More () »

5-year-old boy killed in Parma; man who identifies himself as his father in 911 call charged with aggravated murder

In the audio released Friday, the suspect appears to tell authorities he killed the child and was hearing voices

PARMA, Ohio — A 5-year-old boy was killed Thursday afternoon in Parma and police say they have a 31-year-old man in custody in connection with the homicide.

Police say the incident occurred in the 4700 block of Russell Avenue, and add the suspect is the child's father. The boy has been identified as Jax J. Ponomarenko.

The suspect, identified as Matthew J. Ponomarenko, has been charged with one count of aggravated murder, police confirmed to 3News. Police also released 911 audio Friday in which the suspect tells authorities he killed his son and was hearing voices.

3News has decided not to share the 911 audio due to its graphic nature, but in the call, a voice believed to be that of the elder Ponomarenko told dispatchers he beat his son to death with a baseball bat. When asked why he did it, the man would only say he was "hearing voices."

Ponomarenko's initial court appearance is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday, March 29. Records show a prior criminal history dating back to 2011, with previous convictions for child endangerment, disorderly conduct while intoxicated, and resisting arrest.

"There’s just no words for it," said Donald White who lives near the home. "It’s just heartbreaking."

White released footage from his Ring doorbell camera showing police arriving at the scene and appearing to confront the suspect, and an unknown "popping" noise can be heard. Another video from a passerby's cell phone shows a man being taken away on a gurney, but details on what happened remain unclear.

Neighbors came together to set up a memorial in front of the home in memory of the young boy. 

"I wanted to bring something a little 5-year-old would like," said Parma resident Amanda Bohach. "So I got him a stuffed bunny and some colorful flowers."

The community is currently raising funds for the family of the young boy to help pay for "unexpected expenses." The GoFundMe can be found here

3News cameras were live at the scene on Thursday afternoon:

Related headlines:

Before You Leave, Check This Out