Girl dies after being thrown into Hillsborough River

Clay Curtis
August 6, 2018

A Tampa woman has been arrested for murder after she allegedly threw her 4-year-old daughter into a river, police said.

Witnesses say Denson grabbed Je'Hyrah with both arms and pulled her close to her chest as the mother waded deeper into the water, according to authorities.

Tampa Police responded to the scene along the Hillsborough River, which runs through Downtown Tampa and retrieved the child, who was eventually pronounced dead, Thursday afternoon.

The woman was taken into custody after being found walking away from the scene, Dugan said, but he could not provide any more details. She's since been charged with first degree felony murder, aggravated child abuse and grand theft auto.

In a press conference Friday, Chief of Police Brian Dugan called the incident tragic and unbelievable while giving an update on the investigation. "It's a insane world we live in", Dugan said.

The identity of the woman and child have not been released at this time.

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4 p.m. - A witness said they saw Shakayla Denson exiting the Nissan Altima near the intersection of N Rome Avenue and W Aileen Street, according to police.

A member of the Tampa police dive team found the girl's unconscious body about 75 feet from shore. They're speaking to the woman and witnesses to figure out what happened and why.

Witnesses said they observed her forcefully pushing a child into the backseat of the auto.

About 40 minutes later, the auto pulled up to the Hillsborough River, which runs through Tampa.

"Obviously this is a tragedy that we're going to have to figure out what her mindset was that took her and put her into a place where she would leave a 4-year-old and leave her to drown", Dugan said.

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