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Child dies after being thrown into Hillsborough River; mother charged

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A young girl died after being tossed into the Hillsborough River Thursday afternoon by a woman believed to be her mother, Tampa police said.

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

Tampa police say 26-year-old Shakayla Denson threw 4-year-old Je'Hyrah Daniels into the water around 4 p.m.

According to Chief Brian Dugan, a witness called police to report seeing a child being thrown into the river not far from the Columbus Drive bridge, north of downtown.

Police quickly found Denson walking nearby. She was taken into custody. Police say she had stolen a car - a grey Nissan Altima - from a car lot in St. Petersburg earlier Thursday.

Investigators believe she parked the car on Rome Avenue just north of Aileen Street. Witnesses say she waded into the Hillsborough River with her child and, roughly halfway across the river, she tossed the child and began wading out.

Emergency crews responded; 30 minutes later, they found Je'Hyrah's body. She was taken to nearby St. Joseph's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"Unfortunately at this time, there are much more questions than there are answers," Chief Dugan offered. "It's the craziness of the world we live in at this time."