Jacksonville siblings Braxton and Bri’ya Williams were found safe two days after they disappeared from their yard, causing an Amber Alert and extensive search by authorities.
Action News Jax has team coverage on the children being found on CBS47/FOX30
The following are the latest updates in the case:
UPDATE, 12/18/2019, 12 p.m.: The grandmother of Braxton and Bri’ya Williams tells Action News Jax that the siblings are still at the hospital and that all is well after their rescue.
Action News Jax Bridgette Matter talked with the first responders who found the siblings. They were missing for more than 50 hours before they were found in a densely wooded area behind their home.
“In 20 minutes, the rain was going to hit. We were still going to push anyways," Lt. Josh Montoro said.
He described to Action News Jax the moment he heard the children in the woods.
“I said, ‘I hear children probably about 10, 15 yards to my left,’” he said. “In that moment, I didn’t know what to say other than, ‘Hello?’”
He said that’s when Braxton stuck his head out and answered him.
“(He) said, ‘Hey!’ And me and Phil looked at each other, ran over and grabbed them. He grabbed Braxton. I grabbed Bri’ya. They had a hold of us and we started yelling, ‘We got them.’"
Montoro said it’s hard to describe the moment.
“God had us in the right place at the right time. If we would have shifted a little bit to the right or left, we would have walked right by them -- it was thick in there.”
He held Bri’ya in the ambulance as the siblings were taken to the hospital.
“She didn’t want me to let go of her, and to be honest, I didn’t want to let go either. They decided to keep us together, keep brother and sister together," he said.
That’s when the siblings asked for pizza.
“It was an awesome ride. A moment in my career I’ll never forget,” Montoro said.
Roxanne Lloyd, the children’s grandmother, told Action News Jax it’s been an emotional 24 hours.
“I really prayed yesterday that God, help us to find them. He did just that,” she said. “All of the volunteers, we thank them too. I mean, we can’t say enough thanks.”
She said people she doesn’t know have been coming up to her, sharing kind words.
“We went to eat just now and people were coming up to me and my husband just hugging us like, ‘We’ve been praying for you all,’ and I have never seen these people before in my life. There are some caring people in the world," she said.
She went on to say that Braxton and Bri’ya are ready to come home. See the full interview with rescuers and the siblings’ grandmother on CBS47 FOX30 at 5.
UPDATE, 12/17/2019, 5:45 p.m.: Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said after 6-year-old Braxton Williams and 5-year-old Bri’ya Williams were found by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel, they were happy and talkative.
The rescuers gave the kids candy and water -- but they were hungry and said they wanted a cheese pizza. The rescuers were more than happy to oblige, chipping in to get the kids a cheese pizza.
Sheriff Williams said one of the rescue team members heard children talking and found them in a dilapidated pump house/fort area in the woods -- not far from their home in Paradise Village. Sheriff Williams believes the kids just wandered off and were likely alone the entire time.
UPDATE 12/17/2019 4:00 P.M.- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has officially cancelled the AMBER Alert for missing siblings Braxton and Bri’ya Williams.
Both children were found safe in the woods not far from their home on Tuesday afternoon, three Action News Jax sources say.
Missing siblings Braxton and Bri’ya Williams have been missing since Sunday morning -- 3 days ago.
More than 150 investigators have been searching for the children. Police searched 20 plus bodies of water, over 400 homes and neighbors’ surveillance videos.
A woman who said she is the mother’s cousin said she was at the scene where the children were found. She told Action News Jax reporter Elizabeth Pace that she saw searchers celebrating and when she asked them what was happening they told her that the children were found safe. She said that she didn’t get to see the children, but search and rescue told her the children were safe.
WHAT WE LEARNED TUESDAY AT 11:30 A.M.:
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an Amber Alert for the two children on Sunday. Five-year-old Bri’ya Williams and 6-year-old Braxton Williams were last seen in the 10200 block of West Beaver Street Sunday morning playing in their front yard.
Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for an older, white 4-door car possibly being driven by an older white male. The car was blasting SpongeBob SquarePants music.
Anyone who sees either child or knows where they could be should immediately call JSO at 904-630-0500 or 911.
- Police asking community to look for white 4-door car. An older white man may be the driver, JSO says.
- SpongeBob SquarePants music was reportedly heard coming from this car, police say.
- They do not know if there is a threat to the community at this time.
WHAT WE LEARNED MONDAY AT NOON:
- Family is cooperating, police say.
- Right now, 150 investigators are working to find the children.
- Police are searching nearby wooded area and properties.
- Key areas include retention ponds, abandoned cars, apartment complexes, etc.
- “Right now everything is an option. We are working multiple scenarios,” Sheriff Mike Williams said.
- Sheriff said nothing has been found yet.
- Police are working to pull surveillance video. If anyone living nearby has a working home surveillance camera they are encouraged to reach out to police.
UPDATE 12/16/2019 8:52 A.M.: An investigation has revealed that the clothing reported to be worn by Braxton was likely not correct, as the red sweater was located inside the home, police say.
Action News Jax spoke with the grandmother of the siblings, Roxanne Lloyd.
“We haven’t slept. We haven’t eaten. We are worried about our babies,” Lloyd said. “We want everybody to be praying and if anybody sees them please contact JSO.”
Lloyd also said that she has never known the children to go into the wooded area near their house, and that she hopes no one took them.
“We need a lot of prayers,” Lloyd said. “If anybody wants to come help look for them, come on."
UPDATE 12/16/2019 4:10 A.M.: New photos of Braxton and Bri’ya Williams have been released by police.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is asking the community to remain vigilant and be cautious when driving in the area of 10200 West Beaver Street.
UPDATE 12/15/2019 7 P.M.: In a briefing, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said family members were inside a house when two young children went missing while playing in their front yard in the 10200 block of West Beaver Street Sunday.
JSO said a family member called police when they realized 5-year-old Bri’ya Williams and 6-year-old Braxton Williams were missing from the yard. Sources told Action News Jax the children are siblings.
K-9 teams, drones and drive teams from JSO as well as other agencies are searching for the children, and will continue their search through the night.
Police are asking for everyone in the area to be on the lookout and to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or 911 if they have information about where the children could be.
Original Story 12/15/2019 4:30 P.M.: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an Amber Alert for 2 missing children.
Five-year-old Bri’ya Williams and 6-year-old Braxton Williams were last seen in the 10200 block of West Beaver Street.
Six-year-old Braxton Williams is said to be on the autism spectrum but will communicate with others. He was wearing a red sweater and blue jeans when he went missing.
Five-year-old Bri’ya Williams was wearing a gray sweater with multicolored writing on it.
Anyone who sees either children or knows where they could be should immediately call JSO at 904-630-0500 or 911.
A search on FDLE’s Sexual Offenders and Predators Search shows three sex offenders and one sex predator within one mile of where the children were last seen. When the search is expanded to a 5-mile radius, 13 sex offenders and five sex predators were found.
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