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Search for missing 5-year-old girl extends to Jacksonville's Southside

Dive team called to apartment complex; Trash from complex searched

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The search for a missing 5-year-old girl has extended from the Brentwood neighborhood to Jacksonville's Southside.

Taylor Rose Williams was reported missing early Wednesday morning from Brentwood. That's where the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the girl was last seen about midnight in her home on Ivy Street.

PHOTOS: 5-year-old Taylor Rose Williams

About 16 miles south of the Brentwood home, about 30 police officers and members of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department could be seen Wednesday afternoon inside the Southside Villas apartment complex on Southside Boulevard, where Taylor's family lived before moving to Ivy Street.

When asked what led them to the complex, authorities at the scene told News4Jax that they are following up on every single piece of information that they have. At a 5:15 p.m. news briefing, JSO Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters confirmed that Taylor and Brianna Williams, the child's mother who has been taken to police headquarters downtown to be questioned, used to live at the apartment complex.

JFRD members could be seen walking around a pond near the complex, while police searched a wooded area nearby. Officers were also inside the complex, interviewing residents. 

The JSO dive team arrived just before 3 p.m. to the Southside scene to search small ponds in the area. Soon after, a team of officers could be seen wading in a pond next to the pool of the apartment complex. A police K-9 could also be seen about the same time around the wooded area near the complex.

A trash truck left Southside Villas and was followed by JSO to Advance Disposal on Philips Highway. About 4:45 p.m., aerial footage from Sky 4 over the trash hauling service showed that the garbage had been dumped out and officers were putting on bright yellow moon suits before they started to search through the trash.

Waters said investigators are looking at all angles in the missing persons case.

"We want to make sure she's not in any body of water," he said. "We want to make sure she didn't fall into a dumpster."

A woman who said was hired by Williams to help Williams move from the Southside apartment to the Ivy Street address said she never saw a child.

According to the Sheriff's Office, police responded at 7:22 a.m. to the Ivy Street home, where Williams said she woke up and found Taylor (pictured) missing from her room and the back door of the home unlocked.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a missing child alert at 9:21 a.m., and JSO Chief T.K. Waters said at a 10:30 a.m. briefing that the FDLE was upgrading to an Amber Alert for Taylor. That alert went out at 11:30 a.m. on cellphones, billboards, Florida Department of Transportation message boards and to all law enforcement officers in the state.

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.

 According to Waters, Williams, who has not asked for a lawyer, and entire family, including the girl's father who is out of state, are cooperating. The Navy confirmed to News4Jax that Taylor's mother, Williams, is a petty officer first class at the Tactical Operations Center at NAS Jacksonville.

Taylor is described as being 3 feet tall and 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.

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Waters said police have no idea where Taylor is and the search for the girl will continue overnight. 

Anyone who has seen Taylor or who has information about her whereabouts is asked to immediately call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500.


About the Authors:

Ashley Spicer

Lifetime Floridian anchors weekends and reports weekdays on issues in Nassau and Baker counties and beyond.

Corley Peel

Reports weeknights for The Ten O'Clock News and News4Jax at 11.