Mother comes face-to-face with kidnapper who stole her baby and raised her for 20 years
Imagine on your 20th birthday learning that the mother who had raised you for two decades was – in fact – not your mother. It sounds like something out of a movie drama, but for Kamiyah Mobley, it was her newly-learned reality. She found out that "Alexis Manigo" – the name she'd grown up thinking was hers – was not her real name, and that the person who nurtured her through her childhood and adolescence was not related to her at all.
All this was revealed when Kamiyah went for her driver's license two years ago, only to find out she didn't have a valid birth certificate. Authorities got involved when things started getting suspicious, and the woman Kamiyah believed to be her mother her whole life, Gloria Williams, was arrested. The 53-year-old was apprehended by police in 2017 and, in March, pleaded guilty to kidnapping Kamiyah when she was just a baby.
After some investigation, it was found that the child's real mother was a woman called Shanara Mobley. She had given birth to Kamiyah at age 16 after falling pregnant with a man named Craig Aiken. The relieved parents were reunited with their daughter 20 years after she had been taken, something they always prayed would happen.
Gloria's trial was attended by Shanara, who never found out what happened to her daughter after she disappeared from the hospital just eight hours after her birth. Finally, the distraught mother had the chance to face the kidnapper who raised her daughter for 20 years. Giving an emotional testimony in court, Shanara reportedly broke down and screamed "I am your mother", pleading with the judge to give Gloria the death penalty.
She claims Gloria preyed on her because she was a naive 16-year-old at the time of giving birth. Gloria dressed as a nurse at the Jacksonville hospital where Kamiyah was born in 1998, and approached Shanara and her newborn. It didn't seem suspicious for the disguised Gloria to take the baby, but she never returned.
Facing her in court, Shanara said it was heartbreaking to see Gloria's phone number listed in Kamiyah's phone as 'mom'. She cried as she said: "Thinking about suicide every day, people watching me all day every day, no one was leaving me unattended."
"It doesn’t heal now, I am still hurting. When you’re reaching out to my child – I am your mother Kamiyah," she shouted during the trial. "I am your mother!"
She was incredibly emotional during Gloria's sentencing trial, which was attended by all three of them.
"I always thought about my baby every day, every day, every day," she said. "I would catch myself in my car crying, in bed crying, taking a bath crying, doing something with her siblings and crying."
It's a terrible ordeal for any mother to go through, but at least Shanara and Kamiyah are finally united at last. The outcome of the trial saw Judge Mariane Aho could give Gloria 22 years in prison.