Mother threw 4-year-old daughter into Tampa river, killing her, police say

Shakayla Denson faces first-degree murder, other charges in daughter's death

TAMPA, Fla. – A woman was arrested Thursday after she threw her 4-year-old daughter into a Tampa river, killing the child, police said.

Shakayla Denson, 26, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Je'Hyrah Daniels.

A Tampa police news release said an investigation found that Denson stole a car and drove to the Hillsborough River, where witnesses said she waded in just north of the Columbus Drive bridge before tossing Je'Hyrah and leaving.

Divers found the girl about 30 minutes later. She was submerged about 75 feet off shore near North Rome Avenue and West Aileen Street, police said.

Doctors at a nearby hospital pronounced the girl dead about 4:50 p.m.

Police officers found Denson walking nearby minutes later. She is also accused of stealing a gray Nissan Altima from Jordan Auto Repair.

Denson is also facing charges of child abuse and grand theft auto. The medical examiner's office is working to determine the girl's cause of death. 

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.