Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Girl pronounced dead after being thrown into Hillsborough River in Tampa

Girl pronounced dead after being thrown into Hillsborough River in Tampa

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

By 4 p.m., witnesses spotted the vehicle - which still had a bright green price tag across the windshield - parked near the Hillsborough River not far from the Columbus Drive bridge, and saw Denson pull Je'Hyrah from the auto.

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 girl, believed to be 4 years old, was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where she died shortly after arriving, Police Chief Brian Dugan said during a press conference at the scene.

"Unfortunately at this time, there are much more questions than there are answers", Chief Dugan offered. "It's the craziness of the world that we live in at times".

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"They were fully clothed which was the other very odd thing to me".

"Witnesses say the child was screaming", Dugan explained.

They added: 'Then Denson began to scream, too, as she picked up the girl, pulled her close to her chest and walked farther from the riverbank into deeper water'. Her body was discovered about two hours later.

She was taken into custody and charged with murder.

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Hillsborough County Sheriff Office records show Denson had been arrested in 2016 for failure to appear in court on petit theft charges and in 2017 for failing to appear in court on a charge of driving without a license.

A witness was quoted by TampaBay.com as saying that Denson forcefully removed the child from the vehicle. "At one point, both the child and the mother were screaming".

In a similar 2015 case, police say a man threw his 5-year-old daughter to her death off the Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg as an officer tried to stop him.

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