Mother of missing Florida 5-year-old arrested, hospitalized for apparent overdose

Hours after police announced human remains were found, Brianna Williams was absentee booked at a hospital where she is in serious condition.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt and Doha Madani

The mother of a 5-year-old missing girl from Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested Tuesday, just hours after police announced finding human remains.

Brianna Williams, 27, is facing felony charges of child neglect and providing false information to police in the case of her missing daughter, Taylor Rose Williams.

The mother was absentee booked after being hospitalized for an apparent overdose, police said.

"She is in serious condition at this point," Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Tuesday.

The sheriff said Monday that Brianna Williams was considered a person of interest in Taylor’s disappearance.

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Missing 5-year-old Taylor Williams.via WTLV

State Attorney Melissa Nelson acknowledged the questions still unanswered in Taylor’s disappearance and said Tuesday that her department’s work is just beginning.

“The amount of information we have is, frankly, staggering and the legal implications complicated,” Nelson said. “This will require the systematic investigation of every piece of information, item of evidence, and lead to date.”

The Demopolis Police Department in Alabama said that the team searching for Taylor Rose Williams discovered human remains in a wooded area between Linden and Demopolis. Identification of the remains is pending, according to authorities.

An Amber Alert was issued Wednesday for Taylor, after her mother, Brianna Williams, told police the little girl was not in her room when she checked on her that morning. She also said she had found the back door to her Jacksonville home unlocked.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams told reporters at a news conference the next day that Brianna Williams was the last person to see Taylor and investigators had pointed out some "inconsistencies in her statement ... when she chose to stop cooperating with us."

He said Monday that the 5-year-old's mother was considered a person of interest in the case, and that the investigation had led authorities to search for Taylor Rose in the areas surrounding Demopolis, about 60 miles south of Tuscaloosa. Local agencies and others, including the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Alabama Attorney Generals Office, were involved in the investigation.

The sheriff had asked the public to report if anyone had seen Taylor and her mother traveling between Florida and Alabama over the last two weeks, possibly in the mother's black 2017 Honda Accord. He also asked anyone who had seen Taylor and her mother together in the last six months to contact authorities.

The mother, a petty officer first class at the Tactical Operations Center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, has stayed on the base since police last spoke to her, officials said Monday.

He said it is unclear when anyone other than Brianna Williams last saw Taylor alive, but did not say what led investigators to believe that Taylor may be in another state.