TAMPA, Fla. — A mom accused of drowning her 4-year-old daughter in the Hillsborough River earlier this month appeared in court on Wednesday, where a judge ordered her to stay in jail until her case goes to trial.
Prosecutors argued that Shakayla Denson is a threat to the community after she was arrested and charged with first-degree felony murder and aggravated child abuse in the death of 4-year-old Je'Hyrah Daniels. She also faces a charge of grand theft auto.
During the pre-trial detention hearing, two witnesses took the stand to give their accounts of what happened that day. Detective Kirkpatrick took the stand and said he met with Shakayla at the scene of the incident and at TPD headquarters.
He told the judge she told him her family was out to get her and she said the maintenance man at the apartment complex was maybe in her apartment and "put a spell" on her apartment. The detective also told the judge that officers on scene said Shakayla was singing a nursery rhyme while she was detained a few blocks away from the scene.
Shakayla's Aunt, Veronica Williams, spoke to ABC Action News after the hearing, "I just feel really bad for her because I know that she was not in her right mind. Kayla loved her baby. She really loved her baby."
The doctor that performed the autopsy on Denson's daughter says Je'Hyrah Daniels died from drowning and they ruled it a homicide.
"Something went terribly wrong for her to do that to her baby. I know Kayla is normal there’s nothing wrong with Kayla," she said.
Tampa Police release 911 call related to homicide of 4-year-old girl at hands of mother in river
Police release timeline of events after mother charged in 4-year-old daughter's drowning
Child protection investigation closed just 2 days before mother drowned daughter in river
Tampa Police released a 911 call on Monday where a man calls to report that a woman left her child in the Hillsborough River near N. Rome Avenue and W. Aileen Street.
“Two people just witnessed somebody throwing a child in the river, in the Hillsborough River and they took off,” the man told the dispatcher.
Listen to the full 911 call here: