Florida mother accused of drowning 4-year-old daughter

Florida mother accused of drowning 4-year-old daughter
Shakayla Denson

A Florida mother is behind bars, accused of drowning her 4-year-old daughter in a river.

Shakayla Denson, 26, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Je’Hyrah Daniels.

WFLA reported that witnesses told police Denson stole a car from a car lot, forced her daughter into the back seat, drove to the Hillsborough River, then dragged the screaming girl into the water and released her.

Documents obtained by WFLA describe the disturbing events that unfolded Thursday afternoon.

A witness who saw Denson force her daughter into the car tried to stop them from leaving, but was hit by the car as Denson drove away.

Denson and Je’Hyrah were seen a short time later at the Hillsborough River.

“The defendant was observed by Witness #3 and Witness #4 dragging the small child by the arm towards the river while the child continued to scream. Both witness #3 and #4 observed the defendant walk into the water with the child by arm and the defendant began to scream loudly,” said the affidavit.

WFLA reported that Denson then allegedly grabbed her daughter with both arms and pulled her tight against her chest as she walked deeper into the river and let the girl go.

Denson walked back to shore as her daughter floated away.

A K9 officer tracked Denson to a nearby street where Denson was arrested.

Je’Hyrah was found unresponsive in the river and declared dead at 4:49 p.m. Her preliminary cause of death has been listed as drowning, according to WFLA.

Investigators said they’re still piecing together what led to the tragedy.

Denson has also been charged with aggravated child abuse and grand theft motor vehicle.