$50,000 Reward Offered For Man Who Took 7-year-old
MADISON — Local, state and federal law enforcement officials and the older cousin of a 7-year-old boy who was abducted on Sunday evening in north central Florida and dropped off on Jacksonville's Westside 12 hours later are asking the public for help locating the man who took the child.
The police chief and special agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI announced Thursday a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the man.
"A dangerous person, a child abductor, is out there somewhere," FDLE Special Agent Mark Perez said. "This suspect is still out there. He is a child abductor. And we're fearful he'll do it again. No piece of information is too small."
Anyone with information is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
"Bryan (Williamson) is a brave and healthy boy, but he's traumatized by what happened to him. He is sad, he cries and is always scared, especially to go outside.," the boy's older cousin, Shawn Schreiver, said. "If you saw anything, please call FBI tip line. I don't know if Bryan will feel safe until this person is caught."
An Amber Alert was issued Sunday night after Bryan disappeared from a trailer park off U.S. 90 in Madison, a city northwest of Live Oak. Police said he was walking home from a store with his aunt when he was abducted by a man driving a dark-colored or black four-door sedan, possibly a Chevrolet.
Witnesses' only description of the abductor was a dark-skinned man, either black or Hispanic. Police said they obtained surveillance video of what they believe to be the car, but it does not show the vehicle's license plate. They are asking businesses or residences in Madison and along Hammond Boulevard in Jacksonville to review surveillance recordings between 6:30 p.m. Sunday and 6:30 a.m. Monday for images of the black car.
Bryan was dropped off safely Monday morning at a home five blocks off Interstate 10, but the man who drove him 100 miles is still being sought.
JSO said Bryan knocked on the door of a home on Hammond Boulevard, five blocks off Interstate 10, at 6:20 a.m. Monday. The homeowner recognized the boy from the Amber Alert notifications and called 911
"We are all working very aggressively and as quickly as possible to identify and apprehend the suspect responsible for Bryan's abduction," Perez said.
Released boy just wanted to see his mother
The Jacksonville homeowner who took the boy in told News4Jax that said she heard a soft knock on the door and the boy asked if she could take him to his mother's house. She gave Bryan cereal as they waited for authorities to arrive.
The woman's granddaughter, Hailey Reed, said the boy appeared to be OK, just scared and wanting his mother. She said the boy claimed that he was taken by a man whom he'd seen before who took him to a house and made him take a bath and change clothes.
It was especially emotional for Reed, who is pregnant.
"I was just really happy that he got to be with his family again," Reed said. "I didn’t want to happen what happened to Lonzie (Barton) and them to happen to this family."
Bryan was kept at the home for about three hours before he was carried to a police car to be driven to the Federal Department of Law Enforcement office, where he was reunited with his family.
Bryan's parents drove to Jacksonville after being told that he was found safe. His mother said the family went to two different stores Sunday evening and Bryan was to walk back home with his aunt, but when his mother got home, Bryan wasn't there.
"I come back, (and) they said, 'He's missing,'" Christina Stanley told News4Jax. "I said, 'Don't be playing games with me.' And they looked everywhere. And that's when they called the police."
Upon learning that Bryan was found safe, Stanley said she was just relieved.
"That's my baby," Stanley said.
The woman at the home did not see anyone with the boy, but police are asking anyone who saw the boy dropped off or who saw the car between Madison and Marietta to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
The FDLE is the primary investigating agency and the FBI is assisting in the case.