Child dies after being thrown into Hillsborough River; mother charged

Geraldine Edwards
August 7, 2018

Tampa police say that they received a call at around 4 p.m. Thursday that a woman had thrown a child from a nearby bridge. The child is believed to be the woman's 4-year-old daughter.

Witnesses observed her forcefully remove a child from the backseat, dragging the child by the arm, headed toward the Hillsborough River, police said.

Police say they've located the woman and taken her into custody.

She's since been charged with first degree felony murder, aggravated child abuse and grand theft auto. "It's the craziness of the world we live in at this time".

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She made it about halfway across the water, then "tossed" the child and retreated to the street, the release said.

Denson, authorities say, first stole a vehicle from a local auto shop and then drove to the water with her daughter.

"My daughter was recently diagnose with autism spectrum, my goal is to start saving for therapy equipment, and also for je'hyrah's future".

Neighbor Vicki Walker witnessed the whole thing from the balcony of her condo. They said Denson then walked out of the water and away from the river.

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A dive team discovered the girl's unconscious body and rushed her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:49 p.m., police said. "I don't know the circumstances, I don't know what's happening in their lives, but it's killing me".

The victim was identified as Je'Hyrah Daniels, 4.

On Jan. 8, 2015, 5-year-old Pheobe was thrown off the Dick Misener Bridge into Tampa Bay by her father, John Jonchuck. Shakayla Denson then turned around and headed back to the shore, officials said.

"Witnesses report the child was screaming and at one time, both the child and the mother were screaming".

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