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Sheriff: Who saw missing 5-year-old girl besides her mother in last 6 months?

Taylor Williams' mother not cooperating with authorities, sheriff says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville sheriff says the mother of a missing 5-year-old girl is no longer cooperating with the investigation, and authorities are working to determine who saw Taylor Rose Williams in the last six months besides her mother.

Sheriff Mike Williams said Brianna Williams is not in custody or under arrest, but she stopped cooperating when detectives pointed out inconsistencies with her story, reports News4Jax.

Williams said investigators are trying to determine when Taylor was last seen. Her mother reported her missing Wednesday around midnight, but no one had seen the girl for months, Williams said.

Taylor attended a day care at the Jacksonville naval base at some point but hasn't been there since spring, according to the sheriff.

The Navy confirmed to News 6 partner News4Jax that Brianna Williams is a petty officer first class at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

During a news conference Thursday, Sheriff Williams asked "anyone who has seen Taylor and Brianna Williams in the last six months to reach out."

Police said Brianna Williams told them she saw her daughter in bed around midnight Wednesday in their home on Ivy Street, but when she woke the next morning, Taylor was gone and the back door of the home was standing open.

Anyone who might have seen Taylor or might know where she is should call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office immediately at 904-630-0500.


EARLIER STORY:

The home where a 5-year-old Jacksonville girl was last seen around midnight Tuesday remained taped off Thursday morning as dozens of officers continued a massive search for the missing child.

Over 100 Jacksonville police officers and detectives searched all day Wednesday for Taylor Rose Williams after the girl's mother reported her missing Wednesday morning.

Police said Brianna Williams, who is a Navy petty officer, told them she saw her daughter in bed around midnight Wednesday in their home on Ivy Street, but when she woke the next morning, Taylor was gone and the back door of the home was unlocked.

She called police at 7:22 a.m., sparking a missing persons investigation and all-hands-on-deck search for the little girl.

As of early Wednesday evening, officers had gone door to door to several hundred houses in the Brentwood area.

By Thursday morning, JSO was still using several resources, including K-9s, the dive team and drone units.

They have searched multiple locations, including an apartment complex on the Southside where Taylor's family used to live. At the complex, investigators looked in ponds and in trash from a dumpster taken from the complex.

Concerned volunteers from all over the area joined the search as Taylor's story spread.

The FDLE issued a missing child alert at 9:21 a.m. and an Amber Alert for Taylor went out about 11:30 a.m. on cellphones, billboards, Florida Department of Transportation message boards and to all law enforcement officers across the state.

"It's very urgent that we find her as quickly as possible," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters said at 10:30 a.m. news briefing. "We'll work until we can't work anymore."

Taylor is described as 3 feet tall, weighing 50 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. She was last seen wearing a purple shirt and pink pajama pants when she went to bed.

Taylor is believed to be in danger because of her age, Waters said.

He said investigators are not ruling out any possibilities at this point, including that Taylor left the home on her own or was abducted.

"We're pulling out all the stops," Waters said.

Waters said Brianna Williams was taken downtown to police headquarters, where she was being questioned. Waters said the mother, who has not asked for a lawyer, and entire family, including the girl's father, who is out of state, are cooperating.

Police are considering Brianna Williams a concerned mother as of Thursday morning, and that has been the basis of their conversations with her.

The Navy confirmed to News4Jax that Brianna Williams is a petty officer first class at the Tactical Operations Center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Waters said police have no idea where the child is but will continue to search, and the investigation remains a missing persons case. 

WATCH: Timeline of Wednesday's search

"We are going to investigate this case. We're going to be very thorough in how we do it," he said. "We want Taylor at home safely."

Authorities said there was no sign of foul play in the house, and everything in the house looked normal. By Wednesday afternoon, a tow truck removed a car from the family's home. Around 4:50 p.m., officers took down police tape in Brentwood and secured the house. 

Police also confirmed they were also searching the Southside Villas apartment complex on Southside Boulevard, where the family of Taylor lived before moving to Ivy Street. Dozens of officers were seen searching and the JSO dive team arrived just after 3 p.m. at the complex. Soon after, officers could be seen searching garbage that had been removed from the complex. 

"We are very concerned, but we are going to search, and we're going to continue to search throughout the night," Waters said at a 5:15 p.m. news briefing Wednesday. 

Police asked for the community's help to find Taylor and said hundreds of community members were searching and helping pass out flyers

Sky4 aerials also showed officers checking vacant homes in the area. Police checked with registered sex offenders in the area, which is standard operating procedure in missing child situations.

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K-9 officers and mounted officers could be seen helping in the search. 

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said use of the mounted unit in a neighborhood is rare.

"That shows you the urgency of what's going on," Jefferson said. "Investigators will be looking at the adults in the home and what happened leading up to her disappearance "Our priority right now is to pray for the safety of this child and her being found."

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue brought a Command Center vehicle to the Brentwood scene Wednesday morning. The Sheriff's Office said drone units and the air unit were also being used in the search. 

Police, as well as neighbors, searched into the night. One community member, Kevin Weston, who showed up to help in the search, said the little apparent progress has been frustrating. 

"None of the stories are adding up," Kevin Weston said. "It's just really not making sense, and it's kind of bothering us."

A Brentwood neighbor told News4Jax that she saw children's toys, but never saw a child at the home where police said the girl was reported missing.

"I haven't seen her the whole time," neighbor Brianna Curtis said. "I knew they moved in and I saw the kids' stuff, but I never actually seen the kids. ... I saw the kids' stuff but not her."

As the search continues, anyone who might have seen Taylor or might know where she is should call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office immediately at 904-630-0500.


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