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Missing 5-year-old Florida girl was last seen by her former neighbor in May, affidavit says

Taylor Rose Williams
Posted at 10:34 AM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 10:34:09-05

(CNN) — Taylor Rose Williams, the subject of an Amber Alert this month after disappearing from her Florida home, was last seen by a neighbor in May -- almost six months before her mother reported her missing -- according to a court affidavit.

The 5-year-old girl's mother, Brianna Shontae Williams, was arrested this week and charged with child neglect and giving false information to investigators after authorities found human remains in a wooded area in Alabama.

A former neighbor of Taylor and her mother told investigators that he last saw them together at the Jacksonville apartment complex where they lived on May 21, according to an affidavit for arrest warrant filed in Duval County.

The neighbor, identified only by his initials, said he had seen Taylor wandering the apartment complex alone -- always in pajamas and carrying a doll -- on multiple occasions, the affidavit said.

The first time the neighbor saw Taylor alone outside was in mid-April. He asked her, "Hey, sweetie, what are you doing?"

"Looking for my momma," Taylor replied, according to the affidavit.

The former neighbor told investigators he took Taylor to her apartment, which he described as "cluttered with trash bags and boxes stacked on top of each other," the affidavit said. He said he made sure Taylor locked the door before he left.

The neighbor said he saw Taylor home alone "at least every other day," wearing the same pajamas described in the Amber Alert and holding the same doll, the affidavit said. Taylor would wave at him, he said.

The former neighbor said that whenever he asked Brianna Williams about her daughter after May 21 she would tell him Taylor was in Alabama with her grandparents, the court document said. He told investigators he saw Williams moving in late October.

Taylor was reported missing by her mother on November 6.

The affidavit said Williams -- who worked at the Jacksonville naval air station -- made false statements to investigators, including that she drove to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in late October to pick up Taylor from the girl's grandparents' house. But Taylor's grandparents told authorities they had not seen the girl in more than a year.

Williams, 27, also made false statements about her daughter's day care, the affidavit said. Taylor had not attended day care since April.

Williams was charged this week at a Florida hospital, where she was being treated for an apparent overdose, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Tuesday. She was in serious condition.

Melissa Nelson, state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit in Florida, said "many questions (about the case) still loom and our office's work is just beginning."

"This is obviously not the outcome any of us had hoped to reach," she added. "This investigation has led to what we believe to be the remains of Taylor Rose."

Police in Demopolis, Alabama, said Tuesday that human remains were found during the search for the missing girl. Demopolis is about 100 miles west of Montgomery.

Sheriff Williams said that "while indications are" the remains may be Taylor Williams, "the exact identification of the victim will be made pending some detailed forensic analysis."

The girl's mother was not cooperating with authorities, the sheriff said.

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