By 4 p.m., witnesses spotted the vehicle - which still had a bright green price tag across the windshield - parked near the Hillsborough River not far from the Columbus Drive bridge, and saw Denson pull Je'Hyrah from the auto. She was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Police said they located the woman and took her into custody.
Police allege Denson, 26, had just stolen a Nissan Altima from an auto fix shop.
Dugan said Denson waded into the river until the water level reached her shoulders, and that's where she let go of Je'Hyrah and swam back to the bank as the child drifted under.
Horrified witnesses saw Denson wade out of the river after carrying the girl into the current and pushing her under, watching as she flailed and floated away.
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Denson created a GoFundMe for her daughter nine months ago which is titled "Life with Je'Hyrah".
"It appears that she drove here", Dugan said. The investigation was closed Tuesday after no evidence of maltreatment, abuse or neglect was found, the agency said. TPD has confirmed that Denson is the child's mother.
Divers found the unconscious girl 30 minutes later. "That's why I say we believe it's her child, but we are trying to piece this whole thing together".
"Unfortunately at this point, there are a lot more questions than answers", said Dugan, who called the situation a "completely tragic event".
"Witnesses say the child was screaming", Dugan explained.
On Jan. 8, 2015, 5-year-old Pheobe was thrown off the Dick Misener Bridge into Tampa Bay by her father, John Jonchuck. "It's the craziness of the world that we live in at times".