Tampa Mother Charged With Murder For Tossing Daughter, 4, Into Hillsborough River

Frederick Owens
August 6, 2018

Tampa police say Shakayla Denson, 26, tossed her daughter into a river.

"As the lady came back and came onshore, she tried to walk down our street here, and some other neighbor called the police, called 911, and the police were able to apprehend her before she got far", said resident Victor DiMaio.

Vicki Walker, who says she noticed Denson in the water, told The Tampa Bay Times the woman started to cry once she made it to shore. Denson had previously stolen a vehicle, a Nissan Altima, from Jordan Auto Repair in Tampa before parking the vehicle near the spot where the child was found.

Dugan said it's unclear whether Denson was under the influence, had any documented mental illness or was simply overwhelmed in some way, adding right now, there are "more questions than answers". "It's the craziness of the world that we live in at times".

"I saw a woman in the river which is very odd".

"The whole thing is just unbelievable", said Dugan.

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"I feel for the witnesses, the sense of helplessness they had", Dugan said. 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.

The Sheriff's Office released a statement Friday afternoon saying that on June 19, their Child Protection Investigation Division looked into a report of "inadequate supervision" against Denson.

"Our hearts hurt for the loss of Je'Hyrah Daniels". She was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Police found her body half-submerged shortly after, but it was too late.

Witnesses told police that Denson dragged the screaming girl to the water, waded in until she was shoulder deep and pushed the girl into the current to float away.

On Jan. 8, 2015, 5-year-old Pheobe was thrown off the Dick Misener Bridge into Tampa Bay by her father, John Jonchuck. His trial is set to begin in late September.

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