A teenager who who was stolen from hospital as a newborn by a woman who then raised her as her own child, actually made the shocking discovery two years ago, a friend claims.
Alexis Manigo, 18, claimed she only found out on Friday that her real name was Kamiyah Mobley and that Gloria Williams kidnapped her from a Florida hospital on the day she was born.
But Arika Williams, who long believed she was Mobley’s half-sister, insists that she found out she was abducted when she went to apply for a job two years ago.
‘She was upset about it,’ Williams told People. ‘She even stayed home from school the next day.’
Gloria Williams (pictured left and right) kidnapped Kamiyah Mobley from a Florida hospital on the day she was born
Kamiyah Mobley, (left) now 18, was found living in South Carolina on Friday living under the name Alexis Manigo. Gloria Williams, 51, (right) has been arrested for kidnapping the girl from Florida
Alexis Manigo, 18, claimed she only found out on Friday that her real name was Kamiyah Mobley and that Gloria Williams kidnapped her from a Florida hospital on the day she was born
Authorities revealed that Kamiyah ‘had an inclination’ some months ago that she may have been kidnapped but have not revealed why she had those suspicions.
The mystery of Kamiyah Mobley became a national sensation when she was stolen from her mother Shanara Mobley’s arms at the University Medical Center in Jacksonville in July 1998.
Williams had suffered a miscarriage about a week before she drove the three hours from South Carolina to Florida and abducted baby Kamiyah, Walterboro Live reports.
It is believed she then passed off Kamiyah as her own daughter to family and friends, who said they never suspected a thing.
Jacksonville police said the teenager found out on Friday morning that the woman who raised her in Walterboro her whole life was not her real mother.
Within hours Manigo was able to reconnect over FaceTime with Shanara and her father Craig Aiken, who both cried ‘tears of joy’ after a detective told them their baby had been found.
Her family is planning to drive to South Carolina on Saturday to reunite with the daughter they thought they had lost forever.
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)
Kamiyah’s mother Shanara Mobley (pictured two days after the abduction) was just 16 years old when her daughter was taken from her arms
Meanwhile Williams, who also has two biological children who grew up with Kamiyah, will be extradited back to Florida as soon as possible and is being held without bond, according to Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams.
But Arika says Williams actually told Mobley the truth after she was hired at a local restaurant who asked her to provide a birth certificate and social security information.
‘Lexy didn’t have that so she asked Miss Gloria for it and Miss Gloria kept brushing it off,’ says Arika. ‘Lexy kept being hard on her mother, like ‘Momma, where is my stuff? I want to get this job.’ Then Miss Gloria just broke down and told her this is why right here, you can’t do this. I kidnapped you.’
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said he was aware there was a ‘conversation’ about Williams not being Mobley’s birth mother.
‘We don’t know exactly what she knew,’ he said. ‘We know that obviously there was conversation about her maybe not being her daughter. Did she confess completely to her, or did she just give her pieces of it? We are not quite sure at this point.’
Arika added that her mother, who had already picked out the name Alexis Manigo, said she’d suffered a miscarriage shortly before she abducted Mobley.
Relatives could be seen comforting a visibly upset Kamiyah as she saw Williams behind bars
‘Alexis Kelli Manigo was going to be spoiled regardless but I guess she said she lost Alexis Kelli Manigo. She was going to find Alexis Kelli Manigo and went and got Kamiyah.’
Mobley had burst into tears as she said goodbye to Williams, 51, on Saturday as her abductor waived extradition to Jacksonville, where she will face kidnapping charges.
‘I love you mom,’ she told Williams as the two shared a moment, separated by a mesh screen in the Colleton County Jail in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Williams blew Kamiyah a kiss as the teenager cried out ‘Momma’ and told her abductor she was ‘praying’ for her.
Just hours after police revealed that Kamiyah Mobley had been found, Manigo took to Facebook to defend her abductor.
‘My mother raised me with everything I needed and most of all everything I wanted,’ she wrote. ‘My mother is no felon.’
Williams, who was employed as a social worker and attended church every Sunday, where she also led the youth program, could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Just hours after police revealed that Kamiyah Mobley had been found, Manigo took to Facebook to defend her abductor
Investigators are currently speaking with Williams’ family to learn more about the abduction. Authorities have not yet determined Williams’ links to Jacksonville.
A cousin of Gloria Williams said the revelation was ‘brand new to all of us.’
Tesha Stephens spoke briefly with reporters on Friday outside the Walterboro home where Kamiyah was raised.
She said she didn’t know how the young woman discovered her past and that the news was ‘something brand new to all of us’.
‘Right now she’s holding up… She’s processing everything and she’s probably going to have to take this day-by-day,’ she said. ‘This was something brand new to all of us.’
Susan Alls, Williams’ aunt, remains unconvinced that Mobely is not truly part of their family.
‘There has to be something going on with the DNA, whatever they did,’ she said.
The sensational news solves a cold case that accumulated more than 2,500 tips and captivated both the city and the country for more than a decade.
A tip received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children last year led Jacksonville police to South Carolina.
Kamiyah Mobley (left in a composite created by police) was kidnapped by a woman pretending to be a nurse (right) 18 years ago
Gloria Williams, 51, (left) has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and interference with custody. Pictured right is a sketch police released of the suspect after the kidnapping
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.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Kamiyah appears to be in ‘good health’ and a ‘normal 18-year-old woman’.
He said she first ‘had an inclination’ a couple of months ago that she may have been involved in the national kidnapping case in some way. Authorities didn’t say why she suspected this.
Police said Kamiyah plans on staying in South Carolina for the time being.
‘She’s taking it as well as you can imagine,’ Williams said. ‘We have victim’s advocates up there, she has a lot to process, a lot to think about.’
Gloria Williams was arrested on Friday morning at her home. Kamiyah was not present when she was taken in to custody.
Court records show that Gloria Williams has an extensive criminal record and has been found guilty of writing fraudulent checks and welfare fraud.
Williams was arrested on Friday morning at her home (pictured) in Walterboro, South Carolina. Kamiyah was not present at the time. She was raised there with Williams’ two biological kids
She was also charged with a minor crime for disturbing the peace two months after Kamiyah was abducted, Jacksonville.com reports.
The sheriff said Kamiyah had lived at the home with Williams and other members of her kidnapper’s family. There are no other suspects at this time.
Records show that Williams and her family were evicted at least six times from six different addresses.
Kamiyah is currently living with Williams and her husband in a Habitat for Humanity home that had been built for them.
Williams’ husband was on the road for work at the time of her arrest on Friday.
Kamiyah’s biological family is now planning their reunion with the teen.
Craig and Kamiyah’s grandmother Velma Aiken revealed that they immediately noticed that Kamiyah looked like her father, according to First Coast News.
‘I can’t wait,’ Craig said of the upcoming reunion. ‘It’s been 18 years. I can’t wait no longer.’
Kamiyah was taken from the the University Medical Center, now UF Health Jacksonville (pictured), on July 10, 1998 just eight hours after she was born
‘We had a nice conversation. We laughed,’ he added. ‘We got to know each other a little bit. I just can’t wait for her to come here, so I can be with her for the first time.’
Velma, 66, said her granddaughter chatted with the family as if they had known each other her whole life.
‘She looks just like her daddy,’ she said. ‘She act like she been talking to us all the time. She told us she’d be here soon to see us.’
Velma, who prayed she would see her granddaughter before the day she died, told the New York Daily News ‘everyone broke down in tears’ during the conversation.
‘We lost her for 18 years,’ Velma said. ‘We don’t want to lose her again.’
It was just after 3pm on July 10, 1998 when a woman wearing a blue floral smock and green scrub pants took eight-hour-old Kamiyah in a white blanket and disappeared.
Authorities said the woman had roamed the halls of the University Medical Center, now UF Health Jacksonville, for 14 hours, according to The Florida Times-Union.
She had spent five hours with Kamiyah and her mother Shanara, who had just turned 16 at the time, before saying the baby had a fever. Nurses thought she was a member of their family.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said 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’
It was Velma who became suspicious when she saw the woman leave with a pocketbook slung over her shoulder as she carried Kamiyah away.
‘I just feel like if I would have reacted on my feelings… I could have done something,’ Aiken said. ‘I could have taken that lady out with my bare hands.’
But by the time the hospital staff was notified, it was too late.
Every floor and room of the hospital was searched. Police called bus and train stations and airports to look out for baby Kamiyah. The FBI became involved.
There were no pictures of Kamiyah and only grainy footage from the hospital surveillance camera of the suspect.
Authorities made a composite to try and illustrate what the newborn looked like. Sketches were released of the mysterious woman who had posed as a nurse.
The case took over the county, where women who matched the sketch were stopped in local grocery stores and babies’ footprints were compared to those taken from Kamiyah when she was born.
No pictures of Kamiyah had been taken before she was kidnapped, so police had to match babies to her footprints (pictured) while following leads
It was a tip last year that led Jacksonville police to South Carolina, where they found an 18-year-old woman with Kamiyah Mobley’s birth date but a different name
A $250,000 reward was offered and Kamiyah’s story was told on CNN and America’s Most Wanted.
Craig was in jail at the time of her kidnapping on a drug charge, according to WJXT.
Her disappearance led to even more time behind bars when Aiken, 19 at the time, revealed he was the father – and that Kamiyah had been conceived when Shanara was 15.
Aiken pleaded guilty and spent five months in prison, wondering if he would ever see the baby daughter he never had the chance to meet.
Shanara, who used to cut a piece of cake and put it in the freezer for each one of Kamiyah’s birthdays, received a $1.5million settlement in 2000 after suing the hospital.
As the years passed the mother said she woke up every day knowing her firstborn was still out there – but that there was no way to reach or talk to her.
‘I wonder, ‘What does she like? What kind of food? What kind of colors? How smart is she? Does she have long pretty hair? Does she have my eyelashes?”’ Shanara said in 2008.
Now, she may finally have the chance to find out.
‘I always hoped and prayed this day would happen. I always felt she was alive. I always felt she would find us,’ said Craig.
‘Now we have the rest of our lives together.’