Brianna Williams pleads guilty to second-degree murder in death of 5-year-old daughter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Brianna Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the disappearance and death of her 5-year-old daughter, Taylor Williams, on Thursday. Williams faces 20 years to life in prison.

Williams signed the guilty plea on Feb. 17.

RELATED: 2 years after Brianna Williams’ arrest

The 5-year-old girl’s remains were found Nov. 12, 2019, in a wooded area of Marengo County in rural Alabama, six days after her mother, a former Navy Petty Officer First Class at NAS Jacksonville, reported her missing to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

During Thursday’s hearing, the State Attorney’s Office revealed Taylor’s remains consisted of 10% of her bones. “Some of the recovered remains showed evidence of potential malnourishment, trauma and disease,” the Assistant State Attorney said.

William’s activity on the web provided even more evidenced for investigators.

“A download of Brianna Williams computer was conducted where searches were discovered for malnutrition and refeeding syndrome,” the Assistant State Attorney said.

RELATED: Timeline: Key events in the search for missing Jacksonville girl | Warrant: May last time anyone other than Taylor’s mother saw girl alive

Court documents filed by the State Attorney’s Office accuse Williams of torturing, maliciously punishing or caging her daughter sometime between the last time the girl was seen alive in April 2019 and Nov. 6, 2019, when the girl was reported missing.

Brianna Williams and Taylor Williams (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office/Special to WJXT)

The Assistant State Attorney said in court Thursday, “Between those dates, she pulled her 5-year-old daughter from all childcare facilities she failed to find adequate childcare for her daughter and left her daughter home alone at her apartment.”

Evidence released in the case as part of discovery suggests investigators found possible bloodstains in six places in the family’s apartment, including the interior of a closet. Investigators said they found soiled children’s clothes, fecal matter and soup cans with small openings.

Also inside the apartment, investigators said they found the scent of decay, similar to the scent they said was noticeable in the trunk of Williams’ Honda Accord. Inside the vehicle, court documents say, investigators also found maggots, fecal matter and soiled clothes.

Records show Williams posted a Craigslist ad seeking help moving out of her apartment hours after she returned from Alabama.

Taylor Williams’ father attended the hearing via zoom, however he did not wish to comment after.

Williams will be back in court May 11 where the judge will set a sentencing date.

About the Authors:

Carianne Luter is an Award-Winning Digital Media and Engagement Manager for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She won "Best Social Media Engagement Strategy" during the Local Media Association 2022 Digital Innovation Awards. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.