'A Christmas miracle’: Brother, sister missing since Sunday found safe in woods

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 6-year-old Florida boy and his 5-year-old sister who had been missing since Sunday were found safe in woods Tuesday afternoon.

More than 150 investigators searched more than 20 bodies of water and 400 homes for Braxton Williams and Bri’ya Williams.

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Deputies said the siblings sought shelter in a dilapidated pump house in a densely wooded, swampy area. It is unknown if they were in the structure the whole time.

Investigators said the water was several feet deep in some areas.

“I just thank god that they saved my cousin’s kids,” one family member said.

Deputies said the children were happy and talkative when given bottles of water and candy.

Deputies said the siblings likely hadn’t eaten in three days. They told deputies they were hungry for a cheese pizza, a request that was granted.

JFRD just Tweeted this picture of the 2 missing children after they were found. | https://bit.ly/2ErxQbT

Posted by Action News Jax on Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Sheriff’s Office use special devices and K-9s near the area where they were hiding. They initially spotted a lot of wildlife, but not them.

The sheriff said they’ll focus on why some of their methods may have not worked in the case.

Read: 14-year-old arrested after threatening to shoot up Volusia County school, deputies say

“Overjoyed to hear that Braxton and Bri’ya have been found and are safe,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted. “This is a Christmas miracle. I’m thankful for the tireless efforts of first responders and compassionate members of our city. My prayers continue for this family, and I’m so grateful for this positive outcome.”

Check back and watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates on this developing story.

Previous story:

An Amber Alert was issued out of Jacksonville on Sunday in reference to two missing children.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to the 10200 block of West Beaver Street after receiving reports of a missing 6-year-old and 5-year-old child, who were last seen Sunday at about 11:30 a.m. playing outside a home.

During a press conference Tuesday, Jacksonville officials said they are looking for an older, 4-door white vehicle that was playing children’s music. The vehicle has been spotted in the neighborhood the children went missing from. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, an older white man may have been driving the vehicle.

The children have been identified as siblings Braxton Williams, 6, and Bri’ya Williams, 5.

“The 6-year-old is said to be on the Autism Spectrum, but will communicate with others,” according to a Facebook post by the Sheriff’s Office.

Braxton was last seen wearing a red sweater and blue jeans, and Bri’ya was last seen wearing a gray sweater with multicolored writing on it and black leggings, authorities said.

Sheriff Mike Williams said during a press conference Monday that, “Everything is on the table” in the search of Braxton and Bri’ya. He also urged anyone in the area who may have surveillance video to notify officials.

Officials are searching nearby wooded areas and properties and have 150 investigators working to find the children.

Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500.

Missing Children

UPDATE: We are happy to announce that Braxton and Bri’ya Williams have been located. Thank you to the community for your support and to our partner agencies for assisting in this search. Missing / Endangered Children The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is actively searching for two missing children on the City’s Westside. On Sunday, December 15, 2019 around 1:30 p.m., officers responded to the 10200 block of West Beaver Street to the report of the 6 and 5 year old missing children. 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. The 6 year old is said to be on the Autism Spectrum but will communicate with others. The children have been identified as: Name: Braxton Williams Age: 6 Clothing: Red sweater and blue jeans Name: Bri’ya Williams Age: 5 Clothing: Gray sweater with multi-colored writing on it Anyone having seen or knows the whereabouts of these children is asked to immediately call JSO at 904-630-0500.

Posted by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Sunday, December 15, 2019