TAMPA, Fla. — In less than two hours on Aug. 2, 2018, Shakayla Denson allegedly stole a car, waded into the Hillsborough River and reportedly left her daughter to drown.

The 27-year-old was just found competent to stand trial in her daughter's murder. She's charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and grand theft auto.

Timeline: Tampa mother accused of drowning daughter in Hillsborough River

Original story: Mother charged with murder after allegedly leaving daughter in Hillsborough River

A little after 3 p.m. that day, Denson reportedly stole a car from a car lot in Tampa. Witness told deputies they saw her push a child into the backseat of the car.

Almost an hour later, witnesses say they saw Denson exit the car near the intersection of North Rome Avenue and West Aileen Street. Witnesses told deputies Denson forcefully removed the child from the backseat and dragged the child by arm towards the Hillsborough River.

The child was later identified as Je'Hyrah Daniels, Denson's daughter. At one point, both of them were screaming.

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Je'Hyrah Daniels died Aug. 2 after her mother left her in the Hillsborough River, police say.
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Witnesses said Denson held Je'Hyrah close to her chest as they went deeper into the water. When the water was near the top of Denson's shoulders, she reportedly let go of Je'Hyrah and turned around and headed back to shore.

Je'Hyrah was found unconscious in the water about 30 minutes later. She was pronounced dead around 4:49 p.m. at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Denson was originally deemed not competent to stand trial in December 2018. She was sent to a state hospital for competency training. Three doctors had been assigned to evaluate her.

She was deemed competent to stand trial on June 25, 2019.

Related: Funeral held for girl pulled from Hillsborough River, allegedly left there by her mom

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