The woman charged with kidnapping a newborn from a Florida hospital 18 years ago had suffered a miscarriage the week before she snatched the baby girl.
Gloria Williams is believed to have jumped in her car in July 1998 soon after she miscarried and drove the three hours from South Carolina to a hospital in Jacksonville in Florida, Walterboro Live reports.
Williams, who was dressed in a nurse’s uniform, then walked into the University Medical Center and took an eight-hour-old baby named Kamiyah Mobley straight from her mother’s arms.
She disappeared without a trace and then passed the girl off as her own daughter to family and friends for the next 18 years.
Gloria Williams, 51, (right) suffered a miscarriage the week before she drove from South Carolina to Florida and kidnapped baby Kamiyah Mobley 18 years ago. She disappeared and raised the girl as her own daughter under the name Alexis Manigo (left)
But the 51-year-old’s secret unraveled this week when she was arrested at her home in the small town of Walterboro in South Carolina on kidnapping charges.
Her polite 18-year-old daughter, who was raised as Alexis Manigo, was then told the woman she had long-believed to be her mother had actually abducted her.
Williams’ shocked family and friends, who have watched Kamiyah grow up, say they never suspected a thing.
Kamiyah, who had recently graduated from a high school in nearby Colleton, was raised believing Williams’ two biological children were her younger siblings.
The three children lived with Williams and the man she married a few years ago in a single-story home built for them by Habitat for Humanity. Her husband was on the road for work at the time of her arrest on Friday.
Gloria Williams (left and right) raised Kamiyah (pictured left) as her own daughter for 18 years. The 51-year-old has two younger biological children who Kamiyah thought were her siblings
Her 18 year secret unraveled this week when she was arrested at her home in South Carolina on kidnapping charges. She is in custody waiting to be extradited back to Florida
The 51-year-old mother worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospital in Charleston as a social worker.
Williams also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and led the youth program at the local Methodist church, according to CBS News. Williams also attended church every Sunday.
Investigators are currently interviewing Williams’ family to try and answer key questions related to the case, including how she managed to keep the abduction secret for 18 years.
The news came as a shock to neighbors who said Williams seemed like any regular member of the community.
‘The family is a good family,’ said Ruben Boatright, who has known Williams for 15 years and watched Kamiyah grow up.
‘You don’t want to think bad thoughts of anyone in your family, and that she would do something like that,’ he told WJXT. ‘But then it’s right there staring you in the face. So you don’t know what to say or do.
‘She did that 18 years ago,’ he said. ‘Eighteen years ago she was a young lady and you don’t know what her emotional state was then.’
Boatright said Kamiyah was a well-mannered teen who was ‘very well read’ and ‘disciplined’. He said his opinion of Williams hadn’t changed, despite the news.
Williams had been raised Kamiyah and her two biological children in this home in Walterboro, South Carolina. They were living there with the man Williams’ married a few years ago
Kamiyah (pictured left as a child and right in a current photo) appears to be in ‘good health’ and a ‘normal 18-year-old woman’, according to police
Tears of joy flowed freely for Kamiyah’s biological parents Craig Aiken (pictured left on Friday) and Shanara Mobley (pictured right in 1998 after her daughter was abducted)
Williams will now be extradited back to Florida as soon as possible and is being held without bond in South Carolina’s Colleton County Jail. She could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Kamiyah burst into tears as she said goodbye to Williams at the jail from behind a caged window.
‘I love you mom,’ she told Williams as the two shared a moment.
Williams blew Kamiyah a kiss as the teenager cried out ‘Momma’ and told her abductor she was ‘praying’ for her.
The teenager took to Facebook to defend her abductor just hours after the arrest.
‘My mother raised me with everything I needed and most of all everything I wanted,’ she wrote. ‘My mother is no felon.’
Kamiyah burst into tears as she said goodbye to Williams at the jail from behind a caged window at South Carolina’s Colleton County Jail
Just hours after police revealed that Kamiyah Mobley had been found, Manigo took to Facebook to defend her abductor saying her mother was not a felon
Kamiyah Mobley (left in a composite created by police) was kidnapped by a woman pretending to be a nurse (right) at the University Medical Center in Jacksonville in July 1998
Authorities said on Friday that Kamiyah ‘had an inclination’ some months ago that she may have been kidnapped but did not reveal why she suspected it.
A tip received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children last year led Jacksonville police to South Carolina.
It was there they found an 18-year-old woman with Kamiyah Mobley’s birth date but a different name and quickly discovered that fraudulent documents had been used to establish her identity.
A DNA sample from the teen was taken and submitted to a crime lab, where it was matched with the original newborn DNA taken the day Kamiyah was born. The test confirmed the teen was, in fact, Kamiyah.
The teenager has since made contact with her biological parents Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken, who both cried ‘tears of joy’ after a detective told them their baby had been found.