JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Human remains found earlier this month in a wooded area of western Alabama were identified as those of 5-year-old Taylor Rose Williams, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
JSO Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters said at a news conference Monday afternoon that DNA analysis confirmed the identity of the remains.
Waters stressed that the Sheriff’s Office is committed to getting justice for Taylor, but said the agency is not ready to say how investigators were led to the remains. As the investigation continues, no cause of death has been officially released.
“That information we’re going to keep with us. It’s a very intense, very long, very detailed investigation. And those are things we are going to keep with our investigation until we go through the courts and everything else,” Waters said.
Waters said Brianna Williams, Taylor’s mother, would be told “very soon" after the news conference. He said she remains uncooperative.
TIMELINE: Key events in the search for missing Jacksonville girl
Williams, who’s now considered a person of interest in the case, reported her daughter missing Nov. 6. The disappearance triggered an Amber Alert and a massive search throughout the city. Two days later, the sheriff said Williams was no longer cooperating with police.
The search later expanded to rural Alabama, where investigators focused on a 25-mile radius stretching from Demopolis, where Williams has friends, to her hometown of Linden. Crews were combing a wooded area Nov. 12 when they uncovered the remains. Sources told News4Jax that the remains were bones.
Attorney Randy Reep, not affiliated with the case, said depending on the evidence left behind on a body, it could either help the defense or the prosecution.
“It really depends (for example) a broken neck from a trauma, those types of things, the longer it goes the defense attorney has more ways to wiggle,” Reep said.
After the remains were found, Williams was hospitalized after ingesting an unknown substance. She was charged with child neglect and giving false information to law enforcement but has not been charged in connection with her daughter’s death.
“The fact that no one has been charged yet with a murder isn’t to suggest that there won’t be a murder charge coming,” Reep said. “Once they can determine a cause of death they very well may be able to carry a murder charge whether it be the currently incarcerated defendant or a family member or a friend.”
As pieces of the puzzle in Taylor William’s death begin to come together, Reep said the case is similar to the 2010 case involving Orlando mother Casey Anthony. Many speculated Anthony killed her child, Caylee Anthony, but a jury found her not guilty of murder.
“One thing in the Casey Anthony case, we had the opportunity to hear from jurors later, and one of the things jurors said they want to know before they convict that woman of a murder is ‘How did that baby die?’ And they weren’t able to pin that down," Reep said.
Williams remains in the Duval County jail on $1.1 million bond. She is due in court Dec. 4 for arraignment.
The Amber Alert has been canceled.