Family holds vigil for Ribault High teen found dead near Jacksonville waterway

A growing memorial now marks the spot where an 18-year-old Ribault High School senior was found dead Friday afternoon; after she was missing for three days. Family members confirmed the 18-year-old is Santeria Williams. They described her as a loving person and someone who would go out of her way for others.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A growing memorial now marks the spot where an 18-year-old Ribault High School senior was found dead Friday afternoon; after she was missing for three days.

Family members confirmed the 18-year-old is Santeria Williams. They described her as a loving person and someone who would go out of her way for others.

Loved ones and community members held a vigil for the young woman Sunday night in the Northshore neighborhood.

They also created a memorial for Williams using candles, blue balloons because blue was her favorite color, and stuffed animals because her cousins said she loved collecting meaningful things.

Family members say Williams left her home early Tuesday morning in her pajamas and only with her phone in hand.

Her cousin, Kiaryona Montfort, described Williams as full of light and someone with a bright future who loved to sing.

“She was so young, her voice was so beautiful. She was so smart and talented,” Montfort said. “We want answers, we want to know why.”

William Caul, Santeria’s grandfather, said he was going to miss his granddaughter.

Her Aunt, Regina Perry, described her as an A B honor roll student in school and cheerleading.

“She was very loveable,” Perry said.

About 100 people showed up to the vigil.

“She was loved by a lot of people,” said Taquina Williams, a cousin of Santeria Williams.

The family consoled each other and prayed for healing, but the family is sticking together during this tough time.

“She reunited the family,” Taquina Williams said. “We haven’t seen these people in years.”

A family is grieving with very little answers as to what happened.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said there was evidence of foul play but has yet to announce an arrest or suspect in the case.

JSO has urged anyone with information to contact them.


About the Author:

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