'Momma' charged with stealing teenage daughter

2017-01-14 20:13


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Walterboro - Neighbours knew them for years as a church-going mother and her polite teenage daughter before police swarmed Gloria Williams' home in this small, quiet South Carolina city.

Williams, 51, was arrested on kidnapping charges. Then came the real shocker: Police identified the girl as the 18-year-old Williams had raised as her daughter.

Emotionally overwhelmed

Investigators said DNA analysis proved she had been stolen as an infant from a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.

"She wasn't an abused child or a child who got in trouble," a stunned Joseph Jenkins said of the young woman who lived across the street. "But she grew up with a lie for 18 years."

She grew up as Alexis Manigo, but has now learned she was born as Kamiyah Mobley. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams described her as being in good health but emotionally overwhelmed.

Tesha Stephens, a cousin of Willams', said the young woman had much to think about.

"She's probably going to have to take this day-by-day," Stephens told reporters outside Williams' home.

Mobley got to spend a few emotional moments with Williams, who is also charged with interference with custody, after her arrest. She cried "Momma" through the caged window of a security door after Williams waived extradition to Florida.

Meanwhile, the young woman's birth family cried "tears of joy" after a detective told them their baby had been found. They were able to reconnect over FaceTime within hours.

"She looks just like her daddy," her paternal grandmother, Velma Aiken of Jacksonville, said after they were able to see each other for the first time.

"She act like she been talking to us all the time. She told us she'd be here soon to see us."

Massive search

Mobley was only eight hours old when she was taken from her young mother by a woman posing as a nurse at University Medical Centre. A massive search ensued, with helicopters circling the hospital and the city on high alert. Thousands of tips came in over the years, but she had disappeared.

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.

The case broke thanks to a tip received by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, said Robert Lowery, a centre vice president. He would not say from whom the tip came.

Read more on:    us  |  abductions

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