WUSF's Mark Schreiner reports on the investigation of Shakayla Denson, who's accused of drowning her four-year-old daughter, Je'Hyrah Daniels, in the Hillsborough River Thursday. The suspect then parked the vehicle on Rome Avenue just north of Aileen Street at which time, witnesses told police the suspect waded into the Hillsborough River with her child.
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.
The child's mother, identified by police as Shakayla Denson, was located by police walking not far from the scene, officials stated.
Denson has previous arrests for driving with a suspended license and theft charges dating back two years ago.
"It's a completely tragic event", Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters at the scene, adding investigators were still trying to make sense of what happened and why.
"It's a insane world we live in", he said.
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Vicki Walker told 10News she saw Denson in the river from her condo balcony.
Dugan said the woman is in custody and is being questioned.
She made it about halfway across the water, then "tossed" the child and retreated to the street, the release said. Witnesses were shaken up, the police chief said.
They said Denson then walked out of the water and away from the river. At one point, both Je'Hyrah and Denson were screaming. He explained his agency had "limited experiences" with her, and they were still unsure if Denson had any contact with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
In 2015, police say a man threw his 5-year-old daughter to her death off the Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg. His trial is set to begin in late September. Police found her body half-submerged shortly thereafter.