New York Daily News
A Florida mother and former Naval petty officer who reported her 5-year-old daughter missing in 2019 was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the young girl’s murder.
Brianna Shontae Williams, 30, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Taylor Rose, who was neglected to the point of starvation, then dumped in a shallow grave in Alabama, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Williams reported her daughter missing on Nov. 6, 2019, telling police that she woke up to find her back door unlocked and Taylor Rose gone.
Six days later, Taylor Rose’s body was found about 4 miles outside of Demopolis, Ala., near where Williams grew up. The same day, Williams was charged with child neglect and giving false information to investigators after she stopped cooperating.
“I failed as a mother, a protector and as a decent human being,” Williams wrote in a statement read aloud in court by an employee from the public defender’s office, according to the Times-Union. “I didn’t take advantage of any timely opportunity to right my wrongs. I apologize to everyone affected by this tragedy. I am punished every day since losing my baby.”
Several neighbors testified against Williams, reporting they had seen Taylor Rose wandering around the area looking for her mother. The young girl was last seen alive in April 2019.
Detectives on the investigation testified about children’s clothing and a bedroom carpet stained with feces and Williams’ car, which wreaked of decomposition.
“Brianna Williams’ elaborate lies initially concealed her terrible crime in the murder of her innocent daughter,” State Attorney Melissa Nelson said. “The dogged work by law enforcement and prosecutors brought the truth to light and, ultimately, justice was served for Taylor.”