JACKSONVILLE, Fla – After just over two days missing and two days in a hospital, 6-year-old Braxton Williams and his 5-year-old sister Bri’ya returned home Thursday afternoon. The siblings were held for observation at UF Health Jacksonville since Tuesday afternoon when they were found in a dilapidated pump house located in the woods near the family’s home at a Westside mobile home park.
“It’s just the best thing, being able to walk through the door again and be together once again,” their father, Bryan Williams said.
The children left from the hospital shortly before 1 p.m. and waved to cameras they pulled out of the parking lot.
When they pulled up at their home 90 minutes later, the kids were still smiling and waving. Braxton told News4Jax he said he had to take care of his little sister while they were in the woods.
Dad said the children were kept in the hospital a second night as a precaution despite them being in good health.
“Just scratches and bites. That’s it. God is good,” Williams said.
Good news: Braxton & Bri’ya Williams, 6 & 5, have left the hospital after 2 days. They were in the woods for more than 55 hours until rescuers found them Tuesday. More on @wjxt4. pic.twitter.com/IoiBUFWxYW— Vic Micolucci WJXT (@WJXTvic) December 19, 2019
Braxton and Bri’ya spent more than 52 hours in the woods near their home before rescuers found the two. They were said to be hungry, dehydrated with scrapes and bruises, but talkative and in relatively good health.
Bryan Williams said he was preparing to grill in front of the home late Sunday morning while his children were outside playing. He said he briefly went inside only to come back out and realize his children were missing.
Searchers found them after a three-day search that triggered an enormous response from law enforcement and the community.
Prior to being located, there was speculation that the children may have been kidnapped, but after they were found, police said the children wandered away from home. They were found just a quarter mile away from where they disappeared.
Investigators are still working to determine the exact timeline of what happened to the children between the time they were reported missing and the time they were found. Braxton and Bri’ya’s father said he is just thankful to have his children back.
“Me and mom never gave up. Family members, we never gave up because we just knew there was hope. I knew they were out there and it would all be good,” Williams said. “Christmas is going to be awesome."
The family said they can’t wait to get back to normal.