Florida authorities are on a desperate search to find two young children who disappeared from their home over the weekend.
Siblings Braxton Williams, 6, and Bri’ya Williams, 5, were last seen playing in the front yard of their family’s Jacksonville home Sunday morning when a relative noticed they were gone, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
They were reported missing two hours later, and by early evening police had issued an AMBER Alert for the missing pair.
“Right now everything is an option,” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said. “We are working multiple scenarios.”
All hands are on deck in the search for the young siblings, with nearly 150 investigators working to locate the missing kids, local station Action News Jax reported. Police drones, K-9 teams, and cruisers from multiple agencies are also involved in the search.
The massive effort has left residents of the Paradise Village Mobile Home community, where the children were last seen, on edge. Many are afraid and desperate for answers.
Salina Hutchings lives in the neighborhood and said the case has been a topic of discussion in her fifth-grade class, with her fellow students fearing Bri’ya and Braxton were abducted.
“It scares me a lot because it could be my cousin, or someone related to me,” Hutchings told News4Jax.
Her sister, Serenity Dennis, described the frantic search for the children, noting how police “checked the garbage cans for the bodies.”
“It’s really scary because I have a little brother,” she added, “and anything can happen, and we’re living in the neighborhood where it’s happening at.”
The siblings’ disappearance is just the latest in a string of high-profile searches for missing children. Last month, a frantic search unfolded after 5-year-old Taylor Rose Williams also vanished from her Jacksonville home. Police later charged her mother, Navy Petty Officer Brianna Williams, after the young girl’s remains were recovered in rural Alabama.
Jacksonville locals said they can only hope the case of the missing brother and sister ends much differently.
“I’m devastated, scared, hoping they are found safe and come back home,” said resident Michelle Rodriguez, who doesn’t live far from the mobile home community. “I have kids of my own, so I can just imagine what’s going through the family’s mind and how they are responding to this.”
Authorities are now working to pull surveillance video from nearby homes and are asking anyone with a working home camera to contact police.
Family members were reportedly inside the home when Braxton and Bri’ya disappeared. The young boy, who is on the autism spectrum, was last seen wearing a sweater and blue jeans and his sister had on a gray sweater with multicolored writing on it, police said.
According to Action News Jax, a search on FDLE’s Sexual Offenders and Predators Search shows three sex offenders and one sex predator live within one mile of where the siblings were last seen.
The siblings’ grandmother, Roxanne Lloyd, said the family “needs a lot of prayers.”
Sheriff Williams held a news conference Monday, saying searchers “have found nothing” new in the case.
Anyone with information leading to the children’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.