Woman kid­napped as newborn 18 years ago re­united with her birth fam­ily

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - NATION - By JA­SON DEAREN and RUSS BYNUM

WAL­TER­BORO, South Carolina — 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 at a news con­fer­ence.

Po­lice ar­rested Glo­ria Wil­liams, 51, in Wal­ter­boro, South Carolina, where Mob­ley was raised in a small house with white vinyl sid­ing and black trim, about 200 miles from the hos­pi­tal where she was born. She will be ex­tra­dited to Florida on charges of kid­nap­ping and in­ter­fer­ence with cus­tody, au­thor­i­ties said.

In Jack­sonville, the young woman’s birth fam­ily cried “tears of joy” af­ter a de­tec­tive told them their baby had been found. Within hours Fri­day, they were able to re­con­nect by video chat.

“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 on FaceTime. “She acted 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 from 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, and thou­sands of tips came in over the years, but she had dis­ap­peared.

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

“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.

Some 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, or how her case came to the at­ten­tion of the Na­tional Cen­ter for Miss­ing and Ex­ploited Chil­dren.

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.

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.

“She’s tak­ing it as well as you can imag­ine. She has a lot to process,” the sher­iff said. “I can’t even be­gin to com­pre­hend it.”

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 grand 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.

BOB MACK/The Florida Times-Union via AP

Jack­sonville Sher­iff Mike Wil­liams, cen­ter right, speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Fri­day in Jack­sonville, Fla., where it was an­nounced they found Kamiyah Mob­ley alive and well in South Carolina. Mob­ley was kid­napped from a Jack­sonville hos­pi­tal as a newborn 18 years ago.


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