Jacksonville, FL - The woman who admitted to kidnapping a newborn from a Jacksonville hospital twenty years ago will soon learn her sentence, and the parents of the baby she took want that to be as severe as possible.
“She’s making all this about her. It is not about her. She’s not sorry, never apologized. Writing my baby, ‘I’m still your mother’. She’s not sorry, so why should we have mercy on her soul,” says Shanara Mobley, the biological mother of Kamiyah Mobley.
Kamiyah was taken only hours after her birth in 1998 by Gloria Williams, who then raised her in South Carolina as her own daughter. Williams was arrested in early 2017, and pleaded guilty this past February to kidnapping and custody interference. Under her plea, she could face up to 22 years in prison.
Mobley says she wants Williams to face death for what she did, but since that’s not going to happen, she’s asking for her to be barred from contacting Kamiyah- who was raised as Alexis Manigo- in the future. Mobley says it’s hurt her to see Williams still claiming affection toward Kamiyah, and vice versa.
“That is my child. I am your mother, Kamiyah. I am your mother,” Mobley says.
Mobley was a young teen when she got pregnant, and says that made her dedicated to turn her life around.
“I was happy, like everything was right,” she says.
She got emotional thinking about the first time she could remember holding Kamiyah, after giving birth.
“When they brought her to the room and I held my baby, she was so beautiful. She was so beautiful, she was so beautiful. I just kept waiting to take her home and dress her up and show her off,” Mobley says.
Williams posed as a nurse and spent hours in the hospital room with her and the newborn. Mobley told the court that Williams said she was going to take Kamiyah to get her temperature checked- but she never returned. She trusted her, and feels like she was taken advantage of, because she was young, weak, and scared.
“She preyed on a child and a baby. Would we be here right now if it was a grown woman? She preyed on a child, and we would not be here if it was a grown woman. She wouldn’t have went in to a grown woman’s room and got her baby,” Mobley says.
Kamiyah’s biological father, Craig Aiken, was in jail at the time of her birth. He told the court that he was in his cell, when several officers came up and took him aside.
“They said, ‘Mr. Aiken, we’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news’,” Aiken says.
He told the court he was so happy when they told him his daughter had been born, but couldn’t understand when they said she had been kidnapped. He didn’t get any answers, and when he was allowed to talk to Mobley, she laid blame on him for not being there.
The moment Kamiyah was taken is something both Aiken and Mobley say they think about daily.
“I missed the first walk, first word, graduating, prom- I missed all of that,” Mobley says.
They came together every year with other family to mark their daughter’s birthday, saying they always believed she was still alive. Others in the family feared the worst, but kept hoping.
“I prayed to God that I would be able to see what happened to my grandbaby, and God answered my prayers,” says Velma Aiken, Kamiya’s biological grandmother.
The family endured a lot over the years, though, including intensive questioning by police and scrutiny by the community. A JSO detective who worked the case for more than a decade confirmed for the court that the family was investigated for the kidnapping, because the stranger kidnapping of a baby is such an unusual crime.
“Do you know what it feels like to have the whole world turn their back on you, for a crime that someone else committed,” Aiken asked.
Rodney McKean, formerly JSO detective on #KamiyahMobley's disappearance, testifying there was around 3,000 leads they followed in the case, immense number of man-hours and use of resources #GloriaWilliams pic.twitter.com/yHPlWTl19F— Stephanie Brown (@SBrownReports) May 3, 2018
Another person tied up in this is Charles Mobley, who was in a relationship with Williams at the time of Kamiyah’s abduction, and was led to believe by Williams that he was the baby’s father.
“I lost a child, it’s something I can’t get back,” he says.
Aiken wants Williams to face the maximum sentence, but not because of his own personal feelings. He says he knows his daughter doesn’t want Williams to serve time, but he wants to make sure there is a clear message sent to anyone who kidnaps a child.
“You’ve got to pay for what you did,” he says.
Like Mobley, he wants no further contact between Kamiyah and Williams as well, saying Williams doesn’t understand she’s not Kamiyah’s mother, and that she’s only hurting the teen more by trying to stay in her life.
“What she has pumping through Kamiyah is lies, what I have pumping through Kamiyah is blood,” Aiken says.
And for Mobley, it’s about looking forward.
“The future has so much to offer us right now,” she says.
She is looking forward to the milestones still to come, like seeing Kamiyah go to college.
The defense called several witnesses late Thursday, painting Williams as a loving and caring mother. The sentencing hearing continues Friday.
#GloriaWilliams is now in the courtroom for her sentencing hearing, after pleading guilty in Feb for the 1998 kidnapping of newborn #KamiyahMobley. Follow @ChristyANJax for updates inside of the courtroom, I'm monitoring remotely. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/1gI7hCLcyC— Stephanie Brown (@SBrownReports) May 3, 2018