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Child dies after allegedly being thrown in Tampa river, mother charged with murder

Posted at 8:28 AM, Aug 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 10:28:02-04

TAMPA, Fla. – A 26-year-old mother was charged with murder after wading into the Hillsborough River and dropping her 4-year-old daughter in the water, detectives said. 

CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP-TV reports Shakayla Denson, of Tampa, was charged with first-degree felony murder, aggravated child abuse and grand theft auto.

Denson is accused of stealing a car from an auto repair shop, then parking the vehicle, walking into the river at about 4 p.m. and leaving her daughter, Je’Hyrah Daniels, in the water. Witnesses saw her do it, investigators said.

"At approximately 4:30 p.m., a dive team member discovered an unconscious child submerged about 75 feet off shore," a police statement said. Je’Hyrah was pronounced dead at a hospital.

(Tampa police say a child was found dead in the Hillsborough River on August 2, 2018 / WTSP-TV)

Denson was apprehended while walking near where the child was dumped in the river, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said.

Denson has previous arrests for driving with a suspended license and theft charges dating back two year ago.

"Unfortunately, at this point, there are a lot more questions than answers," said Dugan, who called the situation a "completely tragic event.

"It’s a crazy world we live in," he said.