Shakayla Denson Arrested After Throwing Daughter, 4, Into Florida River, Police Say

August 3, 2018 Last Updated: August 3, 2018

The mother of a 4-year-old girl was charged with murder after throwing the child into the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida.

Shakayla Denson, 26, faces the murder charges as well as aggravated child abuse and grand theft auto charges, according to the Tampa Police Department in a news release on Aug. 2. The slain girl was identified as Je’Hryah Daniels.

Denson “waded into the Hillsborough River and tossed the child into the water,” police said in the news release, adding that the incident unfolded just north of the Columbus Drive Bridge.

At around 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, about 30 minutes after the woman allegedly threw the girl in the water, a police dive team “discovered an unconscious child submerged about 75 feet offshore,” the department stated.

Police then quickly located Denson “walking nearby and was taken into custody,” officials stated. Denson had previously stolen a car, a Nissan Altima, from Jordan Auto Repair in Tampa before parking the car near the spot where the child was found..

A witness was quoted by TampaBay.com as saying that Denson forcefully removed the child from the vehicle. The child was “screaming loudly and was not cooperating” with Denson, the report stated.

Police Chief Brian Dugan said, “We’re going to have to figure out what her mindset was that took her and put her in a place where she would leave a four-year-old to drown in the Hillsborough River,” according to TampaBay.com.

“Our hearts hurt for the loss of Je’Hyrah Daniels,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Danny Alvarez stated. “These types of matters are without a doubt some of the most emotionally tolling types of cases law enforcement encounters.”

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A GoFundMe page that was created by Denson in October 2017 stated Je’Hyrah was diagnosed with autism, the report said. “My goal is to start saving for therapy equipment, and also for je’hyrah’s future,” the page said. “I’ve also gathered interest in reaching out to others living with autism, and would enjoy providing strategies and resources I’ve learn to help them get threw (sic) the day. Thanks and i appreciate it.”

The child’s father, Jedaric Daniels, also issued a comment via another GoFundMe page: “In my entire 37 years of living, I have never endured so much hurt (and) pain … I loved her with every bone in my body,” the report said.

Police told TampaBay.com that it’s not clear if the girl had autism.