After receiving “an inclination” that there was a missing piece in her life, 18-year-old Alexis Manigo shockingly discovered that the woman she once called mother was in fact her kidnapper. According to ABC News, Manigo’s suspected mother, Gloria Williams, was arrested on Friday (Jan. 13), and charged with kidnapping.
The 51-year-old took Manigo as an infant from Florida’s University Medical Center, leaving her family in a constant state of turmoil with the thought that Manigo — who was given the birth name Kamiyah Mobley — was somewhere out there in the world. Williams posed as a nurse at the time of the abduction, and was told by Mobley’s birth mother, Shanara Mobley, that her baby needed medical assistance because she had a fever. That’s when Williams decided to kidnap the infant and settle in Walterboro, South Carolina. Mobley was only eight hours old when she was abducted.
In a 2008 interview with the Florida Times-Union, the young woman’s biological mother had no choice but to deal with just a memory of her daughter. “It’s stressful to wake up every day, knowing that your child is out there and you have no way to reach her or talk to her,” she said.
An anonymous tip landed at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The organization looked into Mobley’s case and asked her for a DNA swab, which was sent to detectives. Once the results checked out with the missing person report, both Mobley and her real family were notified. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said they received over 2,500 tips before solving the case.
“I always prayed, ‘Don’t let me die before I see my grand-baby,” Mobley’s grandmother, Velma Aiken, said to the Associated Press. “My prayer was answered.” Upon her introduction to Mobley, Aiken said there were “tears of joy and happiness and a good feeling, knowing that she’s all right and looking good,” BBC reports in an interview.
A neighbor told reporters that Mobely “wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble. But she grew up with a lie for 18 years.”