Tampa Police Pull Unconscious Child from River

Police said a 4-year-old girl died after her mother threw her into a Florida river

A Tampa woman accused of dropping her four-year-old daughter in a river and letting her drown made her first appearance before a judge on Friday. Je'Hyrah was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The little girl's mother was charged with first-degree murder later Thursday night.

Officials said 911 calls started coming in around 4 p.m. from witnesses saying they'd seen a woman wade into the river just north of the Columbus Drive bridge with a child.

The woman who allegedly threw the child into the river, believed to be the girl's mother, was taken into custody a short distance from the scene.

Horrified eyewitnesses said they saw Shakayla Denson, 26, hurl the girl, named as Je'Hyrah Daniels, to her death in Tampa's Hillsborough River Thursday.

About halfway across the river, with the water near the top of her shoulders, Denson released the child, turned around and waded back to the shore.

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Authorities said Denson stole a gray Nissan Altima from a fix shop before driving to the river.

Denson had recently sought help for her daughter who she said was on the autism spectrum.

"The whole thing is just unbelievable", said Dugan. 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. She was located walking not far from the scene. "Then everybody going full attack mode to make sure she got in the ambulance and then taken to St. Joe's". Two witnesses said the child was "forcefully pushed" into the backseat.

Police say the girl was approximately 4 years old.

Witnesses reported that the child, later identified as Denson's 4-year-old daughter, Je'Hyrah Daniels, was screaming, police said.

It was not known if Je'Hyrah was dead before she was thrown into the water.