Mom pleads not guilty in river drowning death

The Tampa mother accused of drowning her daughter in the Hillsborough River has pleaded not guilty.

Police say Shakayla Denson, 26, waded into the river around 4 p.m. On August 2 and tossed Je'hyrah Daniels, described as having autism and being non-verbal, into the water.

Witnesses called police after seeing the child being thrown into the river. About 30 minutes later, the body of the 4-year-old girl was found by rescuers. Denson was spotted walking nearby and taken into custody. 

Denson was arraigned this morning on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and stealing a car. She waived her right to appear in court, but attorneys entered a ‘not guilty’ plea on her behalf.

She's due back in court on November 6.