In 1998, a woman snuck into a hospital disguised as a nurse and walked out with a stolen baby. On Monday, she pleaded guilty to kidnapping the child she parented for two decades.
Reportedly posing as a hospital nurse, Gloria Williams, 52, snatched Kamiyah Mobley mere hours after she was born on July 10, 1998, in Jacksonville, Florida. The child’s mother, Shanara Mobley, believed Williams’ nurse shtick and handed off the infant to Williams to be placed in a baby carrier. Kamiyah Mobley never made it to that hospital carrier.
Instead, Kamiyah Mobley spent the next 19 years of her life in Williams’ care in Walterboro, South Carolina. The 19-year-old continues to use the name Williams gave her, Alexis Manigo, and learned of the abduction after applying to a job. When Manigo asked Williams about a social security card for work, Williams broke down and confessed what she had done years ago.
The two didn’t keep the information between them, as that shared secret spread to others eventually leading to an anonymous tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A DNA test confirmed Manigo was the missing baby.
Williams now faces 22 years in prison on a kidnapping charge with a possible additional five years for an interference charge. Her sentencing will commence in May.
Manigo has been reunited with her biological family, but she said she still sees Williams as a mother and loves her.
"I still feel the same way about her," Manigo said. "My feelings toward my mother will never change."
The two correspond through letters and phone calls.
As Manigo adjusts to living with her birth family, the line between nature and nurture could be tested. With her childhood undoubtedly tainted, she may find it difficult to establish a bond with her biological parents.
“We are working on our relationship. I don't like to define which one is my mother, I like to be respectful of both parties," Manigo said. "I don't like to take away from either one of their duties or what they did. I don't want to pick sides."
Yet Manigo’s biological father, Craig Aiken, admitted that the relationship between Manigo and Mobley hasn’t developed as strongly as the one he has with his daughter now.
Manigo’s unique experience and the familial murkiness it presents could be likened to the emotional struggles of adopted children. Sometimes blood is not enough to make someone “family.”
Banner/thumnail image credit: Pexels, Wayne Evans