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Mother Arrested After Tossing Autistic 4-Year-Old Daughter In River

Shakayla Denson had a child protection investigation on her close days before she drowned her 4-year-old daughter.

Tampa, FL – A child protection investigation into a Florida woman was closed just two days before she drowned her 4-year-old daughter in a river.

Shakayla Denson, 26, was charged with murder after she killed her daughter, Je’Hyrah Daniels, according to WFTS-TV.

WFTS reported the investigative report said:

“The mother seems overwhelmed and tired with caring for Je’Hyrah. Je’Hyrah is [redacted] non-verbal, and it seems like the mother is upset that she has these disabilities and is not the baby she dreamed of having. The mother is easily distracted and doesn’t show much attention toward Je’Hyrah. She just lets her run around and do what she wants. She doesn’t seem to have the maturity to address the special needs that JeHyrah has.”

The child protection division closed the investigation on July 31 when authorities said they found no indication of mistreatment, abuse or neglect, according to WFTS.

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) said all child protective investigations in Hillsborough County are done by the Sheriff’s office and not DCF.

“I am horrified and disgusted that a mother would do this to an innocent child. DCF will work closely with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office child protective investigative unit to hold Je’Hyrah’s mother fully accountable for her actions under the law,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement, according to WFTS. “I have ordered a comprehensive review of the prior investigation conducted by HCSO [Hillsboro County Sheriff’s Office] for inadequate supervision involving Je’Hyrah which closed with no indicators.”

The sheriff’s office released a statement that said their hearts hurt over the loss of Je’Hyrah.

“These types of matters are without a doubt some of the most emotionally tolling types of cases law enforcement encounters. As an office made up deputies and civilians who are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters before anything else, we send our deepest condolences for the tragic loss of this young child,” the Sheriff’s Office said, according to WFTS.

Police received a call Aug. 2 at about 4 p.m. about a little girl that was thrown into the Hillsborough River. Je’Hyrah was found unconscious in the water about 75 feet from the shore. Emergency personnel attempted to revive her but she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Tampa Bay police said that Denson stole a grey Nissan Altima from an auto repair store and drove to the river.

She then waded into the water with her daughter, the police said. Once in the water, Denson threw her daughter into the river and began to walk out, according to WFTS.

Vicki Walker witnessed the mother wading out into the river with her daughter and took cellphone photos of it, according to WFTS.

“I saw a woman in the river which is very odd. I’ve lived here for years – I’ve never seen anybody in the river,” Walker told WFTS. “It’s gut-wrenching for me.”

Denson had created a GoFundMe page for her daughter nine months ago, according to People. It is titled, “Life with Je’Hyrah.” In the post, Denson said her daughter had been diagnosed as being autistic.

“My goal is to start saving for therapy equipment, and also for Je’Hyrah’s future,” Denson wrote on the GoFundMe page according to People. “I’ve also gathered interest in reaching out to others living with autism, and would enjoy providing strategies and resources I’ve [learned] to help them get [through] the day. Thanks and I appreciate it.”

Denson has been charged with murder, aggravated child abuse and grand theft auto, according to WFTS.

Tom Gantert - August Sat, 2018


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