What we know about missing 5-year-old's family

Taylor Rose Williams reported missing from Ivy Street home Wednesday morning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The mystery of a 5-year-old girl's disappearance from her Jacksonville home remains under investigation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mystery of a 5-year-old girl's disappearance from her Jacksonville home remains under investigation.

But many in the community are curious about another mystery: Where is the child's family?

Since Taylor Rose Williams was reported missing by her mother at 7:22 a.m. Wednesday, her family has chosen to remain out of the media spotlight.

Police confirmed Wednesday that Taylor's mother, Brianna Williams, had been taken downtown for questioning, and she has not yet been seen publicly. She told police she saw Taylor in her pajamas in bed at midnight, but when she woke the next morning, the back door was open and Taylor was gone.

Investigators have found no sign of the little girl.

Sheriff Mike Williams (no relation) said Thursday that Brianna Williams was initially cooperating with the investigation but is no longer cooperating. But she has not been arrested.

Taylor's father, Maurice Tate, is a truck driver who lives in Alabama. He told News4Jax that a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective is driving to Alabama to talk with him and that "it's been a while" since he'd seen Taylor. He declined to elaborate on how long.

He said he had no idea where his daughter might be.

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Taylor's paternal grandmother, who also lives in Alabama, told News4Jax by phone early Thursday evening that she and Taylor's father have not spoken to Taylor or her mother in two years because Brianna Williams, who moved to Jacksonville with Taylor two years ago, cut off all communication.

She said her granddaughter's disappearance is heartbreaking, and she hopes she is found. 

Family and close friends of Brianna Williams have declined media interviews but have asked the community to continue helping investigators search for Taylor. Taylor's godmother, Dorielle Sims, on Wednesday sent News4Jax photos of the little girl, but was very emotional and did not wish to talk much.

Volunteers swarmed the girl's Brentwood neighborhood on Wednesday and Thursday, passing out flyers with her picture and calling her name as they drove through the streets.

"We need answers," said Carolyn Thomas, who has been searching for Taylor in the Brentwood area since Thursday. "I'm a mom myself. I'm out here -- not for show, for fashion -- because I am a mom and it's heartbreaking to see this type of situation happen to a precious baby that can't defend herself."

Some loved ones, most of whom are out of state, have posted messages on social media with hashtags like #FindTaylorWilliams and #bringTaylorhome along with pictures of Taylor.

One woman posted that Taylor is a sweetheart and that her mother loves her very much and wants her back home. 

Brianna Williams herself has little to no presence on social media, but we've been able to learn a bit about her.

According to an Alabama newspaper, she was valedictorian of Linden High School in 2010.

She studied mechanical engineering at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville before joining the U.S. Navy.

The Navy confirmed she is currently a petty officer first class at the Tactical Operations Center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Until recently, Brianna Williams lived at the Southside Villas apartment complex on Southside Boulevard, where police were seen investigating Wednesday and Thursday. A dive team searched small ponds in the area and investigators dug through trash from the complex's dumpster.

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A woman who spoke with News4Jax said that on Sunday, she helped Brianna Williams move from Southside Villas to the Ivy Street home in Brentwood, where Williams told police her daughter was last seen. She said she never saw the little girl.

For now, family and friends said they are waiting for Brianna Williams to speak publicly before they agree to any interviews with the media.

They ask the community to continue spreading the word and looking for Taylor.

Taylor is described as being 3 feet tall and weighing 50 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. 

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

About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.