Kamiyah Mobley had been missing since 1998, abducted just hours after she was born at a Jacksonville, Florida hospital. Eighteen years later, she has finally been found. On January 14, Mobley was reunited with her biological parents in South Carolina, where she was found. More details about the case have come, including how police cracked the cold case.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on January 13 to announce that Mobley was found and that 51-year-old Gloria Williams was arrested in South Carolina. She’s being brought back to Jacksonville to face charges, although she will made her first an appearance in Walterboro in the afternoon before she is extradited to Jacksonville. Williams was charged with kidnapping and interfering with custody.
First Coast News reports that the South Carolina judge didn’t set bond, as that will happen once Williams arrives in Florida. Mobley was in the South Carolina courtroom, where she said goodbye to the woman she called “mother.”
Gloria Williams is expected to be back in court on February 8.
Here’s what we know about Mobley and her discovery.
1. Authorities Never Had a Photo of Mobley to Use Since She Was Abducted Just Eight Hours After Birth
According to the Charley Project, authorities never had a photo of Mobley as a baby to use since she was abducted just eight hours after her birth on July 10, 1998 at 7:00 a.m. at Jacksonville’s University Medical Center (now UF Health-Jacksonville). Authorities could also only describe what Mobley looked like as a baby, noting that she had an umbilical cord hernia (a raised belly button) at birth. She was also born with Mongolian spots on her buttocks, which usually fade six to eight weeks after birth.
The baby was also abducted before she could have her metabolic screening. Her mother, Shanara Mobley did test positive for sickle cell anemia and step type B while pregnant.
Police only had composite images, as no photo of Mobley was taken before her abduction. First Coast News reports that authorities did have a hospital video of the abduction, but it was too grainy to help identify the abductor.
2. Authorities Said the Abductor Pretended to be a Nurse & a Member of the Family
Authorities said that the suspect became friends with Shanara while the two were in the hospital together, notes the Charley Project. The suspect convinced hospital staff that she was a member of the Mobley family and a nurse. She stayed in the hospital for 14 hours on the day Mobley was born, constantly asking when the baby would leave the nursery, authorities said.
After Mobley was born, the suspect told Shanara that Mobley had a fever and would be back with Mobley in her arms in 20 minutes. She never came back and the suspect was never seen again.
After the suspect left with Mobley, police searched the hospital and called in the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement to help. There was a $250,000 reward offered, but the leads authorities received did not help.
According to the arrest warrant obtained by People Magazine, the first tip the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children received came from someone who said that the victim was known as “Alexis Kelli Manigo.” Another tip, which came three months later, was from an unnamed person who said Gloria Williams admitted to the kidnapping. “The suspect stated that she renamed the victim as Alexis Kelli Manigo, and claims her as her daughter,” the affidavit reads.
3. In 2016, JSO Received 2 Tips From Walterboro, South Carolina
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said in the press conference on January 13 that they received two tips in late 2015 that led them to Walterboro, South Carolina. Police there helped JSO officers investigate and they found an 18-year-old girl whose birth date was the same as Mobley’s. They also found that the documents used to establish her identity were fake, Williams said.
Police said they got a sample of the young woman’s DNA, which matched a sample of Mobley’s DNA from her umbilical cord. However, it wasn’t until January 12 that they confirmed that the South Carolina woman and Mobley were the same person.
According to the Florida Times-Union, the identity Mobley lived under was not revealed at the press conference. However, she is a healthy young woman. Action News Jax later reported that Mobley was living under the name Alexis Manigo and believed Gloria Williams was her mother.
Williams said police in Walterboro executed a search warrant of the woman’s home and arrested Gloria Williams.
The Mobley family members weren’t at the news briefing and Williams didn’t say when there would be a reunion. Williams also declined to give details on how their tips helped them learn that Gloria Williams and the girl were connected to Mobley.
Police said that Mobley might stay in South Carolina and it is up to her to want to visit her biological family.
State Attorney Melissa Nelson said that they have met with Mobley’s biological parents, notes First Coast News. Williams said that they have received over 2,500 tips related to the case.
JSO credited Missing Kids with receiving the tip and notifying them.
The New York Daily News reports that Mobley was reunited with her parents, Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken, at the Walterboro Police Station on January 14.
Since it was discovered that Alexis Manigo was Mobley, Manigo has made her Facebook page private. However, it was public long enough for photos of her to circulate and Action News Jax reported that she posted a Facebook Live video in July 2016 joking about being kidnapped.
“And they’re going, ‘No, I’m not a serial killer.’ Oh yeah? What if you’re a kidnapper?” she said in the video, reports Action News Jax. “’Nobody trying to kidnap you?’ You’d be surprised. You’d be surprised. They’d probably bring me back in the next two hours because I’d probably talk their head off or something.”
Williams told CNN that the fraudulent identification opened up the case. As Mobley started looking for jobs as an 18-year-old, she began to realize that something wasn’t right about her identity.
“So her Social Security card and her birth certificate were both fraudulent. And that began to raise questions, I’m sure,” Williams told CNN, without getting into too much detail. “We’re not sure in what detail she knew or how much she knew or how much she was told, but we believe that there was a conversation at some point with some explanation about why her birth documents were fraudulent.”
4. Mobley’s Mother Cut a Slice of Birthday Cake for Her Daughter Every Year
On the 10th anniversary of Mobley’s disappearance, The Florida Times-Union looked back on the case. The paper interviewed Shanara, who said she always cuts a piece of birthday cake on every July 10 and puts 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,” Shanara told the Times-Union in 2008. “The main thing that beats you up the most is … you don’t know nothing.”
Mobley’s grandmother, Velma Aiken, told the Times-Union at the time that she never got to hold Mobley. “I just pray to God that one day I will see her before I die,” Aiken told the paper at the time.
The Mobley case attracted national attention, being highlighted on CNN and included in an episode of America’s Most Wanted. However, there were no leads until the recent tip that led authorities to South Carolina.
Shanara sued the hospital after the abduction. She told the times-Union that they reached a $1.5 million settlement in May 2000. She used the money to buy a house, which she later lost to foreclosure. As of 2008, she has three other children.
“I wonder, ‘What does she like? What kind of food? What kind of colors? How smart is she? Does she have long pretty hair? Does she have my eyelashes?’” Shanara told the Times-Union in 2008.
Shanara told the Times-Union that she usually kept the slice of cake frozen for a couple of months before taking it out. “You break down because she’s not here for us to sing happy birthday to,” she told the paper at the time.
In an interview with ABC News, Mobley said that she would always consider Gloria Williams her mother. She told the network that Gloria Willias was “a great mother,” adding that she will “never have malice for her.” “I will always love her,” Mobley said.
5. Mobley’s Father Was in Prison at the Time of the Abduction & Mobley’s Mother Was Only 16
At the time of the abduction, Mobley’s father, Craig Aiken, was not at the hospital. The Charley Project reports that he was in prison at the time for lewd assault. Mobley’s mother was only 15 at the time the baby was conceived and below the age of consent.
Aiken was 23 at the time of the abduction and Shanara was just 16. First Coast News later caught up with Aiken and his mother. Aiken told the station that he cannot wait to see his daughter. Shanara has not commented since the JSO’s press conference.
“I always hoped and prayed this day would happen. I always felt she was alive. I always felt she would find us,” Aiken, now 41, told the Times-Union. “Now we have the rest of our lives together.”