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'Every child matters and it has got to stop': Candlelight vigil held for Taylor Williams

A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night for a 5-year-old Jacksonville girl whose remains were found in Alabama.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night for 5-year-old Taylor Williams, whose remains were found in Alabama days after she was reported missing in Jacksonville. 

The vigil was hosted by Safe Haven of NE FL in Arlington at 7 p.m. almost exactly one month after Taylor's mother, Brianna Williams, reported her missing. 

Brianna Williams was arrested and soon charged with two counts of culpable child neglect and one count of lying to law enforcement officers after authorities said human remains later confirmed to be Taylor Williams were uncovered in a wooded area between the cities of Linden and Demopolis, Ala. 

RELATED: Jacksonville police confirm child remains found in Alabama to be missing 5-year-old Taylor Williams

At Saturday's vigil, community members and a detective working on the case held candles in Taylor's honor.

“Our philosophy is, we don’t want a child just to be a number when they’re killed," Safe Haven CEO Kathy Swafford said. "We want the child to be remembered by their name."

Swafford said the group has held vigils for several children, and they all leave their mark on her.

"These become personal to me because these children didn’t get to live to their potential," she said. "We don’t know what they could’ve been, doctors, lawyers, dentists … we don’t know because they didn’t get that chance." 

Another child not given that chance, Zykerria Robinson. JSO said the 5-year-old died from long-term abuse in 2018. Her grandmother was at Taylor William's vigil. 

“It’s so sad to see little Taylor, so that’s why I’ve been thinking about her as my granddaughter," Almarie Doyle, Robinson's grandmother, said.

With candles lit and a Christmas tree in Taylor William's honor, Safe Haven members along with the community vowed to always remember each child by his or her name, not a number. 

“Every child matters and it has got to stop," Dr. Connie Clark of Safe Haven said. "There are just too many little ones that aren’t given the chance at life and aren’t given the opportunity to grow up and make a difference, so this is our way of hoping to make a difference in somebody’s life."

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RELATED: Jacksonville officer placed flowers, angel wings at shallow grave where Taylor Williams remains were found, Alabama resident says

RELATED: Homicide, death penalty expert assigned to defend Brianna Williams

 

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