Family identifies 18-year-old found dead near waterway as Ribault High senior

Evidence of foul play in her death, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says

A young woman was found dead Friday next to a Jacksonville waterway, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. A cousin identified her as Santeria Williams, a senior at Ribault High School who recently turned 18 in December. She hadn’t been seen since earlier this week and was missing since Tuesday morning.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A young woman was found dead Friday next to a Jacksonville waterway, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

A cousin identified her as Santeria Williams, a senior at Ribault High School who recently turned 18 in December. She hadn’t been seen since earlier this week and was missing since Tuesday morning.

Police said they responded about 3:15 p.m. to Vermillion Street at West 71st Street after a person called 911 to report a body located alongside the Trout River.

The Sheriff’s Office said there is evidence of foul play, and the homicide unit is investigating.

Her cousin, Arneka Green, said that Santeria was a cheerful young woman who took school seriously. Family says it’s out of character that she left home on a school night.

“There’s so much I could say,” Green said. “The love she has for every person. She’s a loving person.”

The family will hold a vigil for Williams at 5 p.m. Sunday near where she was found.

“It was in the middle of the night she left with someone she had to know,” Green said. “We knew it wasn’t right for her to leave on a school night. She took school seriously.”

Green said the last time she saw Williams was on Monday at a family gathering.

“If Teri was going to leave home, she would’ve taken more than what she had,” Green said. “She only had her phone.”

There are no suspects and the family just wants answers.

“To not come home and say everything’s OK, that’s not Teri,” Green said. “She always tells everyone where she’s going she doesn’t hide anything.”

Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).

“We went searching, looking, asking, knocking on doors,” Green said. “She left home in pajamas. She doesn’tt leave the house in pajamas. That’s not Teri.”


About the Authors:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.