JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The Jacksonville mother charged in connection with her 5-year old daughter’s disappearance briefly appeared before a judge Wednesday morning to plead not guilty to two counts of child neglect and giving false information to police shortly after reporting her daughter, Taylor, missing.
Police said Brianna Williams, 27, called police saying she put her daughter to bed back in November, then awoke to find her gone the next morning. Taylor’s disappearance sparked a massive search in the city of Jacksonville.
Police utilized multiple resources searching for the little girl. Neighbors and people in the community assisted in the search and passed out fliers. It was revealed a short time later that the last time anyone could account for the little girl was months earlier, in May.
The search for Taylor eventually led investigators to Alabama, where Brianna Williams grew up. The little girl’s remains were founded there in a wooded area. A memorial for Taylor stands where her body was found.
A check Thursday of the Florida Department of Children and Families website showed the agency is now investigating Taylor’s death.
“It is believed that the circumstances related to the child’s death occurred in Florida,” DCF said.
Brianna Williams attempted suicide by overdose shortly after her daughter’s remains were found. She was hospitalized but recovered.
Williams has been in police custody since and is being held on $1.1 million bond. She appeared at Wednesday’s arraignment wearing a red jumpsuit. Police sources have told us in the past that inmates who need extra attention wear red.
Williams was careful not to make eye contact with media cameras during her court appearance -- the first time the public has seen Williams since she was arrested.
She is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 4. A question raised about the prosecution’s discovery evidence will be discussed at that time.