The mother of a missing 5-year-old girl was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony child neglect and giving false statements to police, hours after searchers found the remains of a child in remote woods in rural Alabama.
Brianna Williams, 27, was "absentee booked" while hospitalized after an apparent suicide attempt by overdose, police said, and was in "serious condition."
Jacksonville, Fla., Sheriff Mike Williams said in a press conference late Tuesday afternoon that investigators were reasonably sure the remains were those of little Taylor Williams, but that they were conducting a detailed forensic analysis.
"Teams on the ground there are working on recovering the victim," the sheriff said. "Indications are that this may be indications are this may be Taylor Williams. Exact identification of the victim will be made pending some detailed forensic analysis of those remains."
Both he and Florida State Attorney Melissa Nelson said the investigation was ongoing.
"Obviously at this time, many questions still loom, and our office's work is just beginning," Nelson said at the press conference. "The amount of information that we have is, frankly, staggering, and the legal implications complicated. This will require a systematic investigation of very piece of information, item of evidence, and lead to date."
The sheriff's update confirmed that Williams, a petty officer at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, had been rushed to the hospital as officers were en route to arrest the 27-year-old.
"Brianna Williams, the mother of Taylor Williams, has been arrested this evening on charges of child neglect and giving false information to investigators during the search for Taylor," Sheriff Williams told reporters. "The suspect has been absentee-booked at a local hospital after being admitted today due to an apparent overdose of some sort."
The remains were found in a wooded area of Alabama between the towns of Linden and Demopolis, where Brianna Williams has family.
Definitive identification was pending, but police had been honing in on the area since Williams reported her daughter missing last week.
"The multi-agency investigative team involved in the search for missing Taylor Rose Williams confirmed that search teams uncovered human remains in a wooded area between the cities of Linden and Demopolis Alabama," the Jacksonville Police Department announced in a statement on Facebook early Tuesday afternoon. "Victim identification is pending."
Taylor had allegedly vanished from her bedroom overnight a week ago. Her mother reported her missing Wednesday morning, saying that she had last seen the girl at around midnight the previous evening, when she put her to bed. Morning brought no sign of the girl, her mother told police. The back door was unlocked.
But when confronted with inconsistencies in her story, Williams clammed up, then holed up on the Navy base where she works, police said. She then became a "person of interest," police announced Monday.
This article is written by Theresa Braine from New York Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.