Mother Pleads Not Guilty To Drowning Her Four-Year-Old Autistic Daughter In A Florida River

A Florida mom has entered a not guilty plea to the heinous charge of killing her infant daughter.

26-year-old Shakayla Denson is accused of drowning her four-year-old autistic daughter in a river.

The devastating incident happened earlier this month. Denson allegedly carried little Je’Hyrah Daniels into the current of the Hillsborough River. 

Witnesses say she pushed the defenceless child under water and watched as she drowned. On Friday, Denson was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and stealing a car.

‘She Held Her Daughter In The Water’

On August 2, Denson allegedly stole a car from an auto repair shop, forcing her daughter inside.

Owner of the car lot, Abdelrazzaq Abdelrazz, stood in front of the bumper to stop the mom from fleeing. Denson reportedly backed out and managed to drive over his foot as she made her getaway. 

About 40 minutes later, the car pulled up to the Hillsborough River in Tampa. Bystanders watched in horror as Denson dragged her daughter from the stolen car.

Nonverbal autistic Je’Hyrah thrashed and screamed in her mother’s arms as she fought for her life. Witnesses say Denson also began to scream as her daughter was eventually swept away by the current. 

Rescue divers Je’Hyrah from the water about 30 minutes later, according to the Tampa Bay Times  

She was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Just two days earlier, Denson had been cleared of child abuse by investigators.

Her Father Is Devastated

Shortly after Je’Hyrah’s tragic death, her father Jedaric Daniels, spoke out about his unimaginable loss.

‘In my entire 37 years of living, I have never endured so much hurt [and] pain,’ Daniels said. ‘Je’hyrah was diagnosed with Autism so she required a little more love and attention. I loved her with every bone in my body,’ the heartbroken father said.  

Denson is due back in court on November 6.

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