ORLANDO, Fla. — The two young Jacksonville children at the center of an Amber Alert were found unharmed and sheltering in a "dilapidated pumphouse" about a quarter-mile north of their home, Sheriff Mike Williams said Tuesday.
- Braxton Williams, 6, Bri'ya Williams, 5, went missing from home
- Braxton has mild form of autism called Asperger syndrome
- Amber Alert issued for siblings was canceled Tuesday afternoon
Braxton Williams, 6, and sister Bri’ya Williams, 5, had last been seen in the 10200 block of West Beaver Street at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Tuesday afternoon that the children had been found safe.
During a news conference, Sheriff Williams, who is unrelated to the children, said the siblings were found by an urban search-and-rescue team comprised of firefighters and Sheriff's personnel at about 3:35 p.m.
The children were in the pumphouse, which is in a densely wooded area about a quarter-mile north of their home.
"They were lively and talkative and asked for a cheese pizza," the sheriff said.
The siblings were a little dehydrated but otherwise in good health, save for a few bumps and bruises, he said, and were taken to a hospital for observation.
Right now, Sheriff's officials think the children simply wandered from the home and don't suspect anything suspicious, he said. They could have been there the whole night.
"It was the best possible outcome. ... It was the outcome we hoped for," the sheriff said.
Earlier Tuesday, Jacksonville Sheriff's officials said they were focusing their search on a white, four-door vehicle being driven by an older white man.
"What the information we've been receiving is that it (the vehicle) has been playing loud children's music, and we're searching for that vehicle because we'd like to ask that individual some questions," Jacksonville Sheriff Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters told reporters.
But at the news conference Tuesday afternoon, Williams said that officials no longer think that vehicle had anything to do with the children. He said it was just one scenario they were exploring.
The parents were home at the time the children disappeared, and "we felt like from the beginning, the parents were forthright and cooperative," Williams said Tuesday.
About 150 law enforcement officers from several agencies searched for the children, some with drones and K-9s.
“The complainant advised they were playing in front of a residence and were last seen at around 11:30 a.m. prior to going missing,” a statement from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Sunday. The Amber Alert was issued at 5:15 p.m.
Williams said that officials would find out more about what happened after they have a chance to talk further with the children.
Clothing description changed
Braxton Williams has a form of autism called Asperger syndrome. He will communicate with others, the Sheriff’s Office said. He was last seen wearing blue jeans. He is described as a black, about 3 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighs 40 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
In the original Amber Alert, authorities said the boy was wearing a red sweater. But Monday morning, Sheriff's officials said the sweater was found inside the home.
AMBER Alert Update:— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) December 16, 2019
The investigation has revealed that the clothing reported to be worn by Braxton was not correct, as the red sweater was located inside the residence.
Please continue to RT their photos.#FindBraxtonAndBriya pic.twitter.com/GfK8Lwuppt
Bri’ya Williams was wearing a gray sweater with multicolored writing and black leggings. The black female with black hair and brown eyes weighs 30 pounds and is 3 feet tall.
Tipsters are urged to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.
Amber Alerts are considered the most urgent and widespread form of public notification for missing children considered in imminent danger. Originally, a child had to have been abducted to qualify for an Amber Alert. But officials in November said that is no longer the case. Non-abducted missing children considered in “imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury” qualify for Amber Alerts under revised standards outlined by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in November.
People who sign up for email and text messages also get Florida Amber Alerts. To sign up and for more information, go to www.missingchildrenalert.com.