A Florida mom who reported her 5-year-old daughter missing back in 2019 pleaded guilty Thursday to killing the little girl.
Brianna Williams, who was a Navy petty officer when she was arrested, had been charged with aggravated child abuse, lying to police, and tampering with evidence, as CrimeOnline previously reported. She pleaded not guilty.
The charges alleged that Williams “tortured, maliciously punished or caged” Taylor Rose Williams, her daughter, between April 17, 2019 — when the girl was last seen alive — and November 6, 2019, when the mother reported her daughter missing.
She told investigators she had seen Taylor in her bedroom at about midnight but that in the morning, she found an exterior door open and Taylor missing.
Less than a week later, the girl’s remains were found in a wooded area outside Demopolis, Alabama — Williams’s hometown. The badly decomposed remains were stuffed into a garbage bag and buried in a shallow grave.
Investigators said that GPS records showed Williams traveling to Alabama from the Jacksonville area and back on October 31, November 1, and November 2 — and that the girl’s remains were found in the area where the GPS put Williams traveling. They also found a rope, blue gloves, wire, papers, a knife, and cardboard. When she returned from Alabama the final time, she used Craigslist to hire people to help her move to a new apartment.
Detectives say they believe Williams kept Taylor locked in a closet when she was away. According to police records, police found a closet in Williams’s original apartment that smelled of body waste and decomposition, First Coast News said. They also found bloodstains on walls and carpets that matched the girl’s DNA.
One of Williams’s co-workers at Norfolk Naval Base told investigators she thought Williams “starved her to death.”
Williams was never charged with her daughter’s murder, and it isn’t clear what led to the guilty plea, which was entered at a pre-trial hearing on Thursday. Sentencing will take place at a later date; she faces up to 20 years in prison.
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[Feature Photo: Brianna and Taylor Williams/Police Handout]