JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A newly-filed court document gives a closer look at the case against a Jacksonville mother charged in connection with the disappearance of her 5-year-old daughter whose remains were found in a wooded area of western Alabama.
Brianna Williams was named a person of interest in the disappearance of her daughter, Taylor Rose Williams, shortly after reporting the girl missing Nov. 6.
The disappearance triggered an Amber Alert and a massive search throughout the city. 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 girl’s remains. The cause of death hasn’t yet been determined.
Following the discovery of the remains, Williams was hospitalized after what was described as a suicide attempt by overdose at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. She is charged with child neglect and giving false information to law enforcement but has not been charged in connection with her daughter’s death.
Wednesday, prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville released a list of discovery material that they have provided to the defense lawyer for Williams.
The nine-page list of evidence includes everything from video interviews to cellphone records tp internet search history, which could piece together what happened to Taylor.
The evidence that could appear in court includes:
- Williams’ initial 911 call to report her daughter missing, claiming she was abducted
- Two recorded interviews with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office after the call
- Williams’ DNA report
- Taylor’s autopsy, which was completed after her remains were found in Alabama
The list shows investigators have thousands of pieces of evidence: nearly 4,000 crime scene photos and dozens of videos of Williams and her car on base at NAS Jacksonville and in Alabama, near the spot where authorities found Taylor’s body.
Phone records are key. Prosecutors sent subpoenas to cellphone companies associated with Williams’ accounts, as well as Google, Apple iCloud and Match.com. Each could potentially piece together where Williams was, what she searched for and who she talked to.
Prosecutors also have Uber and Lyft records, documenting Williams’ activity with the ride-sharing services. Additionally, they pulled her Navy records, including when she accessed the base, and surveillance from stores in Jacksonville, Georgia and Alabama.
Karen Smith, a former JSO crime scene detective who is now a forensic analyst in Los Angeles, told News4Jax that the evidence could be difficult for Williams’ lawyer to defend.
“If she lied, they’re going to be able to find that with this documentation,” Smith said. “Was the child abducted? Highly doubtful.”
She pointed out that prosecutors have the burden of proof, but also a lot of avenues to build their case.
“They’re going to take everything they can get their hands on, weed through it with a fine-toothed comb and see what comes of it,” Smith said. “We’re in 2020 now, the sheer amount of evidence, computers, cellphones, social media has changed the way things are done exponentially.”
The case is complicated and sensitive, so it will be months before the state has this material ready for release to the defense. As permitted by public records laws, News4Jax has also requested the supporting documents and evidence.
Williams, 27, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of child neglect and giving false information. As of Wednesday, she remained in the Duval County jail on $1.1 million bond.