Taylor Rose Williams, the 5-year-old Florida girl who was reported missing earlier this month, was routinely left home alone, a former neighbor has claimed.
Taylor’s mother, Brianna Williams, said on Nov. 6 that her daughter had disappeared from her bedroom overnight. But after authorities discovered human remains earlier this week that they believe may belong to Taylor, the child’s mother was arrested and charged with child neglect and giving false information to investigators.
An arrest warrant released on Wednesday, November 13, details the unnamed neighbor’s claims, including his allegations that he saw Taylor wandering around their apartment complex alone several times, Fox News reports. The neighbor said he first saw the child alone on April 17, 2019, when he noticed that she was walking up the stairs from the complex’s breezeway, the warrant states. When he said to her, “Hey sweetie, what are you doing?” he said Taylor replied, “Looking for my momma.”
The neighbor said that he escorted Taylor back to her apartment, which he described as filled with trash bags and boxes, and instructed her to lock the door, according to the outlet. The warrant states that after that point, he began to see Taylor at home by herself “at least every other day,” and that whenever he saw her, she was always wearing the same pajamas — the ones that she was wearing on April 17, and that were described in the Amber Alert — and holding the same doll, Fox News reports.
He claimed that Williams’ car was not in the parking lot when he observed her daughter being home alone, and he said that he’d often observe Williams coming back home in the evenings, at around 6:30 or 7 p.m., “carrying food apparently for one person.”
The neighbor also alleged that he saw Taylor outside by herself at least twice in May; the last time he saw the child, she was with her mother, and that was on May 21, Fox News reports, citing the warrant. When he later would ask Williams where her daughter was, she’d respond that the girl was in Alabama with her grandparents, the man told investigators.
Williams, a petty officer first class at the Tactical Operations Center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, reported her daughter missing on the morning of Nov. 6, telling authorities that she’d woken up to find her daughter missing from her bed and the back door of their Jacksonville home unlocked. Hundreds of officers took part in the search, which soon spread to Alabama, where Williams used to live.
Authorities announced last week that Williams had stopped cooperating with the investigation after investigators began questioning her about “some inconsistencies in her statement,” and soon after, officially named her as a person of interest in the case. Police discovered human remains in a wooded area in Alabama on Tuesday, and Williams was booked that same day.
While authorities can not confirm that the remains are Taylor’s until forensic analysis is complete, Melissa Nelson, state attorney for Florida's fourth judicial circuit, said during Tuesday’s press conference, “This investigation has led us to what we believe to be the remains of Taylor Rose.”
Williams was absentee booked on Tuesday, having been admitted to a local hospital for treatment after overdosing on an unknown substance, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said on Tuesday. As to whether or not Williams’ overdose constituted a suicide attempt, Sheriff Williams said that the question was something only Brianna Williams could answer.
The warrant also outlines false statements Williams, who has been charged with giving false information to police, allegedly made while speaking with investigators, according to Action News Jax.
Williams allegedly told police that her daughter stayed with her mother during the month of October, and that she traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Oct. 31, 2019 to retrieve the child; however, Williams’ mother contradicted that claim when she told police that she hadn’t seen her granddaughter since Jan. 2019, the outlet reports.
The warrant also lays out details regarding the childcare facilities Taylor was enrolled in, according to News 4 Jax. Records show that the child attended a kindergarten program in Jacksonville, with her last day of attendance being April 10; she was also enrolled in the daycare at the military base where her mother worked, and was last seen there on April 29, investigators reportedly said.
Authorities said previously that Williams was the last person to see her daughter alive, and had asked anyone who’d seen Taylor with her mother to come forward with that information. Sheriff Williams said Tuesday that they are still welcoming information from the public.
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