Community holds on to hope amid search for missing 5-year-old girl
$4K reward offered for information on Taylor Rose Williams
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville community is holding on to hope as the search for a missing 5-year-old girl entered its fourth day on Saturday.
Sheriff Mike Williams says the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has received hundreds of tips from people in regard to Taylor Rose Williams, however, nothing has led police to the location of the missing girl. Sheriff Williams has said the search for Taylor is ongoing, noting the Amber Alert was still in effect.
Sheriff Williams has asked anyone who has seen Taylor and her mother, Brianna Williams, to contact the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. He said the mother has stopped cooperating with law enforcement officers.
During the search, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Friday that it's updated the criteria for the state's Amber Alerts and Missing Child Alerts.
It includes what the FDLE called an Enhanced Missing Child Alert, which the FDLE said can be used in cases which it appears a child was not abducted, but law enforcement officials believe the child is in imminent danger. The new alert allows for a cellphone emergency alert in a targeted area.
A spokesperson for the department told News4Jax that Taylor is the first case that has utilized the new technology. On Wednesday, when the girl was first reported missing, the Enhanced Missing Child Alert was sent in two geographical locations before an Amber Alert was issued.
Sheriff Williams pointed out Brianna Williams, who is a who is a Navy petty officer, is not under arrest or even considered a suspect, but he said that when detectives pointed out inconsistencies with her story, she stopped answering questions. News4Jax has learned more about her history in Jacksonville and her exemplary record in the Navy. A spokesperson said Brianna Wiliams has returned to work after spending time with police the day she reported her daughter missing.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Friday he was angry about Taylor's disappearance, but praying.
"You've got to remain hopeful," Curry said.
Brianna Williams called police at 7:22 a.m. Wednesday to report her daughter missing from their home in Brentwood. She said she saw the child in her bed at midnight, but when she woke around 7 a.m., Taylor was gone and the back door was open.
Investigators have found no sign of the child, and the sheriff said they do not believe she just walked away from the home.
As the sun rose Friday morning and the search extended beyond the typically crucial first 48 hours, police and volunteers continued their efforts to find Taylor.
As of Thursday night, a Jacksonville detective was headed to speak with Taylor's biological father, Maurice Tate, who lives in Alabama. Family members said he hasn't seen his daughter in roughly two years.
Sheriff Williams said part of the investigation is trying to find out when the last person -- besides Brianna Williams -- saw Taylor alive.
Even though there's not yet evidence of a crime, Crime Stoppers is offering a reward, which was increased Thursday evening to $4,000, for information about Taylor's whereabouts. Calls to 866-845-TIPS can remain anonymous and be eligible for the reward.
"We remain hopeful that we'll find Taylor. We're not going to stop in our efforts to locate her and there's not one scenario or theory that we're not exploring, and every possibility is being looked at," Sheriff Williams said.
Taylor is described as 3 feet tall, weighing 50 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
In the first two days of the search, more than 300 officers knocked on more than 600 doors and checked out numerous leads, using K-9 teams, officers on horseback, the dive team and other assets, since Taylor was reported missing.
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