Kamiyah Mobley, 18, has lived her entire life as Alexis Manigo, but last week she found out that she was abducted as a newborn from a Florida hospital. In her first interview since the revelation, Mobley has come out to defend her “mother” in a televised interview with ABC News.
“She loved me for 18 years. She raised me for 18 years … I will always love her,” Mobley told ABC News about her alleged kidnapper, Gloria Williams.
Mobley was taken just hours after she was born by Williams, who posed as a hospital nurse. After telling her family Mobley had a fever and needed to be checked out by a doctor, Williams allegedly left the hospital room with the newborn and vanished. Despite their best efforts, police never found where the baby or Williams went. When the case became national news in 1998, authorities received thousands of tips from readers, but most resulted in dead-ends.
On Friday, officials said at a news conference that Mobley had been found in Walterboro, South Carolina, where she was living with Gloria Williams under a false identity reportedly created by her abductor. Williams was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree kidnapping and third-degree interference with custody. But according to Mobley, the charges are too harsh.
“From that one mistake, I was given the best life. I was. I had everything I ever needed, wanted. I had love especially,” Mobley said of her life in South Carolina. “I understand what she did was wrong but just don’t lock her up and throw away the key like everything she did was just awful.”
The 18-year-old had a hard time watching Williams enter the Colleton County Jail in Walterboro, South Carolina on Friday. Along with bursting into tears, Mobley cried out “momma” while Williams blew her a kiss. The two shared an emotional moment while separated through a jail screen.
“That did hurt that they had her in cuffs. She’s a gentle woman,” she said.
On Saturday, Mobley met her biological parents — father Craig Aiken and mother Shanara Mobley — at the Walterboro Police Department. Despite her feelings about the case, Mobley says her biological family deserved to meet her.
“I feel like I do owe them that, to give them a chance, you know? Get to know them,” Mobley said. “I’m not saying they weren’t going to be good parents. I’m not saying that at all. But it would have been a different life. When you find out you’ve got another family out there, it’s just more love.”
She also said that being in the spotlight has been “overwhelming.”
“Your whole life you’ve been known as ‘Alexis,’ ‘Lexi,’ you know?” she told ABC. “Now it’s like people are referring to you as someone else, nationally.”
What do you think about the situation? Do you agree with Mobley about Williams’ charges? Sound off in the comments below.