Authorities searching Tuesday for a missing 5-year-old found the remains of a child off a dirt road in Alabama and her mother, a Navy petty officer, has been hospitalized in Florida after apparently trying to take her own life.
At a Tuesday evening press conference in Florida, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams and State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced that they’ve arrested and filed felony charges against Information Systems Technician 1st Class Brianna Shontae Williams, 27, for child neglect and lying to investigators searching for her daughter, Taylor Rose Williams.
“This is obviously not the outcome any of us hoped to reach,” said Nelson.
Originally from Alabama, the petty officer has been assigned to the Tactical Operations Center in Jacksonville since April, 2, 2018, according to military records provided to Navy Times.
Her daughter was reported missing from her Jacksonville home last Wednesday but authorities in Florida said Williams refused to cooperate with their investigation.
Sheriff Williams later named her a “person of interest” in the child’s disappearance.
He’s not related to Brianna Williams.
Police in Demopolis, Alabama, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that remains were found in a wooded area in rural Marengo County, but Sheriff Williams said detailed forensic work must be completed before they can be conclusively linked to the missing child.
On Veterans Day, investigators in Florida circulated a release seeking witnesses who might have spotted the child and her mother in a black Honda Accord between Jacksonville and Alabama within the past two weeks.
Sheriff Williams said that the petty officer is in “serious condition” tonight at an unnamed local hospital and is being treated for an “apparent overdose of some sort.”
He added that “no one else is currently in custody” but the probe continues.
He and Nelson urged anyone with information about the case to contact authorities.
Military officials told Navy Times that Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents are assisting in the probe but the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is leading it.
Williams enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 20, 2012. She graduated from the Information Warfare Training Center in Pensacola in late 2013 and was sent to Naval Air Station Pensacola, her first duty station.
Two years later, she reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 in Norfolk, where she served until Feb. 28, 2018.
She was advanced to first class on April 16, 2019.
This is a breaking story and we’ll continue to update it.