Composite image made available by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in Jacksonville, Fla., shows a photo of Kamiyah Mobley, an infant baby girl who was kidnapped by a woman 18 years ago

18 Years After Abduction, Girl Reconnects With Family

It was 18 years ago when newborn Kamiyah Mobley was kidnapped from her 16 year old mother, Shanara, eight short hours after she was delivered. CNN reported Mobley was abducted by Gloria Williams, a woman who dressed in a blue smock and surgical gloves and posed as a nurse at Florida’s Jacksonville University Medical Center. The case gained national attention and local residents offered hundreds of tips, but Williams and baby Mobley were never discovered…until recently.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that a DNA sample taken from Kamiyah after her birth was found to match a swab taken from South Carolina teen, Alexis Manigo. Alexis was the name friends and neighbors called the 18 year old over the years growing up in Walterboro. Many noted that although she was a kidnapping victim, she was raised well.

Neighbor, Joseph Jenkins, reported to the AP, “She wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble. But she grew up with a lie for 18 years.”

While officials will not disclose all of the details surrounding her case, the local sheriff claims Kamiyah “had an inclination” that she was kidnapped. Her case gained more momentum when it was picked up by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. According to the Orlando Sentinel, it was the Center that took swift action to contact cold case detectives and begin the DNA analysis, which affirmed Mobley’s true identity.

On Saturday, Kamiyah met her biological mother and father for the first time since disappearing in July of 1998. Shanara’s excitement was relayed to local station, WJXT, by her attorney, Wayne Alford. Alford stated that Shanara baked a cake every year on her daughter’s birthday and this year she’d be thrilled they can celebrate it together. Her father, Craig Aiken, told WJXT that through it all, he never lost hope.

“I always hoped and prayed for this day to happen. I never gave up. You never lose hope, no matter how much time passes. You never give up. I just always felt she was alive. I always felt she was going to find us…We had a nice conversation. We laughed. 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.”

Aiken also took the time to thank the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, who remained on the lookout for the baby girl.

“Even when we thought they weren’t working on (it), they were still working on it. I have to tell those people thank you for what they’ve done. I just want to thank the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the detectives, for sticking with it, for the tips. For everybody that had a part in it, I appreciate you.”

Since the confirmation of Mobley’s identity, authorities have picked up 51 year old Williams and taken her into custody with charges of kidnapping and interference with custody. If she is convicted of both charges, she could face life imprisonment. A sentence Mobley does not bestowed on the only mother she has known, based on her recent Facebook Post.

“She raised me with everything I needed and most of all everything I wanted. My mother is no felon. The ignorant ones won’t understand that.”

Because of the Mobley kidnapping, the University Medical Center has required babies and approved newborn visitors to sport electronic wristbands and ankle bands and has also imposed security precautions and restrictions that include limited access to the maternity ward. Dozens of other hospitals across the nation have adopted similar practices.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has helped families connect with more than 208,000 children. If you have a tip, suspect you are a victim of kidnapping, or have a child that is missing, contact local law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.

[Featured Image by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office/AP Images]