Stolen at birth, 18-year-old re­united with family via video chat

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - WEATHER -

Stolen from a hos­pi­tal just hours after she was born, an 18-year- old woman fi­nally learned her true iden­tity and was re­united Fri­day with her birth family, by video chat. The woman she thought was her mother was charged with her kid­nap­ping.

Thanks to DNA anal­y­sis, the 18-year-old now knows her birth name: Kamiyah Mobley.

She’s in good health, but un­der­stand­ably over­whelmed, Jack­sonville Sher­iff Mike Wil­liams said.

Glo­ria Wil­liams, 51, was ar­rested at her home in Wal­ter­boro, South Carolina, early Fri­day on charges of kid­nap­ping and in­ter­fer­ence with cus­tody.

Mobley — who was raised un­der her given name, Alexis Manigo — was al­lowed to spend a few emo­tional mo­ments with Wil­liams on Fri­day. She cried “Momma” through the caged win­dow of a se­cu­rity door after Wil­liams waived ex­tra­di­tion to Florida, ac­cord­ing to the TV sta­tion “News4JAX.”

A much dif­fer­ent scene was de­scribed by the young woman’s birth family. They cried “tears of joy” after a de­tec­tive told them their baby had been found. Within hours Fri­day, they were able to re­con­nect over FaceTime.

“She looks just like her daddy,” her pa­ter­nal grand­mother, Velma Aiken of Jack­sonville, told The As­so­ci­ated Press after they were able to see each other for the first time. “She act like she been talk­ing to us all the time. She told us she’d be here soon to see us.”

Mobley was only eight hours old when she was taken f rom her young mother by a woman pos­ing as a nurse at Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter. A massive search en­sued, with he­li­copters cir­cling the hos­pi­tal and the city on high alert. Thou­sands of tips came in over the years, but she had dis­ap­peared.

All that time, Kamiyah’s neigh­bors in Wal­ter­boro knew her as Glo­ria Wil­liams’ daugh­ter.

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

ome months ago, the young woman “had an in­cli­na­tion” that she may have been kid­napped, the sher­iff said. Au­thor­i­ties didn’t say why she sus­pected this.

The case broke thanks to a tip re­ceived by the Na­tional Cen­ter for Miss­ing and Ex­ploited Chil­dren, said Robert Low­ery, a cen­ter vice pres­i­dent. He would not say from whom the tip came.

But the cen­ter soon reached out to the cold case de­tec­tives at the sher­iff’s of­fice, and Mobley pro­vided a swab of her cheek for DNA anal­y­sis that proved the match, the sher­iff said.

“This was some­thing brand new to all of us,” said Te­sha Stephens, a cousin of Wil­liams, who spoke to re­porters out­side their home Fri­day even­ing.

The cen­ter has tracked 308 in­fant ab­duc­tions since 1983 by non­fam­ily mem­bers in the U.S. Of those cases, 12 were still miss­ing at the end of last month. That’s now one num­ber smaller.

“Right now she’s hold­ing up,” Stephens said. “She’s pro­cess­ing ev­ery­thing and she’s prob­a­bly go­ing to have to take this day-by-day.”

The woman has been pro­vided with coun­sel­ing, the sher­iff said. Mean­while, Aiken is thrilled to know that they can speak with each other as much as they want.

“I al­ways prayed, ‘ Don’t let me.die be­fore I see my grandS baby’,” said Aiken. “My prayer was an­swered.”

The family never for­got the lit­tle girl ripped from her mother’s arms that day in 1988.

Her mother, Sha­nara Mobley, told the Florida TimesUnion news­pa­per on the 10th an­niver­sary of the kid­nap­ping that on ev­ery one of Kamiyah’s birthdays, she wrapped a piece of birth­day cake in foil and stuck it in her freezer.

“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,” Mobley told the pa­per in 2008.

News moved quickly through the com­mu­nity of about 5,100 peo­ple early Fri­day after po­lice cars swarmed Wil­liams’ home. Joseph Jenk­ins said he awoke to see of­fi­cers search­ing the house and the shed around back.

“At the fish mar­ket, the hair dresser, the gas sta­tion, they’re all talk­ing about it,” said Ruben Boatwright, who said he’s known Wil- liams for about 15 years.

Lakeshia Jenk­ins, Joseph’s wife, said Wil­liams and the girl would of­ten come over for cook­outs in the yard, or join their family at a nearby water park. Kamiyah seemed to be well cared for, and “Ms. Wil­liams, she seemed like a nor­mal per­son,” Jenk­ins said.

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