Police report: Taylor Williams' mother 'attempted suicide' before arrest

Brianna Williams absentee booked on charges of child neglect, giving false info

Security people surround a patient flown by Trauma One to UF Health Jacksonville on Tuesday afternoon.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mother of a 5-year-old girl reported missing from Jacksonville last week "attempted suicide" prior to her arrest Tuesday, according to an arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Brianna Williams was flown Tuesday from Naval Air Station Jacksonville to UF Health hospital, two sources told News4Jax. Sheriff Mike Williams confirmed that at a 5 p.m. Tuesday news conference, saying Brianna Williams was taken to the hospital in downtown Jacksonville to be treated after either overdosing or ingesting an unknown substance at NAS Jacksonville. She was reportedly in serious condition. The sheriff and State Attorney Melissa Nelson also announced that Brianna Williams has been charged with child neglect and giving false information to investigators in the disappearance of her daughter, Taylor Rose Williams. Brianna Williams was absentee booked and the arrest report stated she had "attempted suicide" prior to that. 

A News4Jax crew at UF Health on Tuesday afternoon captured video of a helicopter landing and then someone being led into the hospital on a stretcher surrounded by security. Hospital officials could not confirm the person on the stretcher was Brianna Williams due to privacy issues. 

 Duval County jail records show Brianna Williams was booked in absentia on two counts of child neglect and giving false information to law enforcement during an investigation, and the three charges carry a total bond of $1.1 million. A first appearance was scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, but at 11 a.m., police confirmed Brianna Williams was still in the hospital and would not be making an appearance in court Wednesday.

News4Jax began to learn of Brianna Williams' hospitalization soon after investigators announced Tuesday afternoon that human remains had been found during the search for her daughter in a wooded area in western Alabama. Sheriff Williams and Nelson said the remains are believed to be those of Taylor.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will await positive identification of the remains found on County Road 44 off Highway 28 in Marengo County, Alabama, until forensics tests are completed, according to the Demopolis Police Department.

IMAGES: Taylor Rose WilliamsAlabama scene where remains were found

Brianna Williams works in the Tactical Operations Center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, her Navy bio shows. She was still reporting for duty as of Tuesday morning and remained administratively assigned to the Tactical Operations Centers as of early Tuesday evening, according to Navy officials. 

"The Navy is fully cooperating with civilian authorities as they continue to investigate," read a statement from the Navy. 

No one else is in custody. Sheriff Williams said that while family members have been cooperating, Brianna Williams stopped cooperating the day after she called 911 to report her daughter missing from their Brentwood home.  On Monday, the sheriff named Brianna Williams a person of interest in Taylor's disappearance.

"We need her cooperation," the sheriff said in a Monday afternoon news conference announcing the deployment of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Urban Search and Rescue Team to Marengo County.

The search for Taylor expanded Monday, with the JFRD team and JSO homicide and missing persons detectives traveling to the Demopolis area of Alabama, where her mother is from and has friends, and her hometown of Linden. Three sources told News4Jax that authorities pinged Brianna Williams' phone in Alabama, and that's what led them to search there. The Sheriff's Office would not confirm that information Monday. 

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Sheriff Williams on Monday asked anyone who saw Taylor and her mother together between Jacksonville and Alabama in the last two weeks to call JSO with that information. The number is 904-630-0500. He said Brianna Williams was believed to have been driving her black 2017 Honda Accord, which has tinted windows and black rims. Sources previously told News4Jax that cadaver dogs had gotten a scent on the car, and it was taken into evidence.

Less than a week before Taylor was reported missing, according to neighbors, her mother moved from a Southside apartment complex to the home in Brentwood. Neighbors said they never saw a child living at the Brentwood house. 

About the Authors:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.