Seven days after a multi-agency team of investigators found what they believe to be the remains of 5-year-old Taylor Williams, the body has still not been officially identified as the missing Jacksonville girl.
So what’s taking so long?
First Coast News has learned that the work of making a DNA match to the remains is underway. That process, which began Friday, was expected to take about a week.
Prior to the DNA analysis, some delay was created by an Alabama law requiring a coroner make an initial determination of the cause of death. Even in cases where a body is significantly decomposed, as multiple sources tell First Coast News was the case with the Alabama remains, it is up to the coroner to determine the manner and cause of death. If foul play is expected, the coroner then directs the body for an autopsy.
An autopsy was conducted Friday by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, which is where the DNA sample was obtained. That DNA will be matched to DNA found on some of the girl’s belongings. The body will eventually be sent to the Duval County Medical Examiner’s Office.
While the final DNA determination is pending, local officials think the remains likely belong to the missing girl. At a press conference Tuesday, Nov. 12, Sheriff Mike Williams said, “While indications are that this may be Taylor Williams, the exact identification of the victim will be made pending some detailed forensic analysis of those remains.”
At that same press conference, announcing mother Brianna Williams’ arrest, State Attorney Melissa Nelson said, “This is obviously not the outcome any of us had hoped to reach.”
The girl was reported missing Nov. 6. The remains were found Nov. 12.