Stolen By My Mother: How Kamiyah Mobley was raised by her kidnapper for 18 years, before being hit by a grave lie
Kamiyah Mobley was kidnapped on the morning of July 10, 1998 — sparking a nationwide search that only ended a staggering 18 years later in January 2017. Lifetime's latest stars Niecy Nash (When They See Us, Claws), Rayven Ferrell (The Hate U Give) and Ta'Rhonda Jones (Empire)
On the morning of July 10, 1998, Shanara Mobley gave birth to her first child at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Just a couple of hours later, an unknown woman walked into her room claiming to be a nurse and kept the 16-year-old mother company for the next few hours — gaining her trust in the meantime.
Around 3 pm on that fateful day, the woman told Mobley she had to check the baby's temperature and proceeded to take her out of the hospital room. But she never came back.
Little Kamiyah Mobley had been kidnapped — sparking a nationwide search that only ended a staggering 18 years later in January 2017.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, who previously thought the case couldn't get any colder, were granted anonymous tips about the case. This helped them track down Gloria Williams, Kamiyah's kidnapper, all the way in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Once there, authorities found Williams had renamed the child Alexis Kelli Manigo and raised her as her own daughter. She was already an adult at the time.
Speaking to A&E Real Crime, Alan Mizrahi, an assistant state attorney in Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit, called the abduction a rather "unusual case."
“Most abductions are done by people known to the victim’s family,” Mizrahi noted. “Some kidnappings have been done with strangers or people that are not known, but those are usually very short term. They’re usually caught, or the person [who was abducted] is killed and we discover it very quickly. Nothing like this.”
The secret of Kamiyah's abduction became known to her after she turned 16. At the time, she was trying to get a job but realized she possessed no social security number. Williams decided it was time Kamiyah knew the reality of her life and why she didn't have the unique nine-digit number as yet.
She went on to confide in Kamiyah how she had driven from South Carolina to Florida back in 1998 and stolen her from her biological mother's arms — while posing as a nurse. Williams explained how she was trapped in an abusive relationship at the time which resulted in her losing custody of her two young sons — adding that she had suffered a miscarriage just a week before abducting her as a newborn.
The teenager's world turned upside down when she heard the story. She did not know who she was anymore, but at the same time, she didn't want to lose the person she had always known as her mother. After mulling hard over the situation, she decided to keep the secret to herself.
The chilling details of this mysterious real-life incident have been pieced together in Lifetime's 'Robin Roberts Presents: Stolen by My Mother: The Kamiyah Mobley Story'.
But as fate would have it, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children somehow received anonymous tips about Williams and Kamiyah, a couple of years later. They subsequently passed them on to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, who were least expecting any leads on the case almost two decades after it went cold.
Authorities arrested Williams on January 13, 2017, after DNA tests confirmed Kamiyah was, in fact, Shanara Mobley's daughter. The sheriff's office proceeded to charge Williams with kidnapping and interference with custody.
Shanara, who had celebrated Kamiyah's birthday every year since she went missing, learned on the day of Williams' arrest that her first-born was alive and well.
In May 2018, Williams was sentenced to 18 years in prison at Florida’s Duval County Court. Meanwhile, Kamiyah traveled to Florida to meet with her biological family and began building new relationships with them. However, she continued living in the house where she grew up — close to the people she'd known as a family all along.
Speaking to First Coast News shortly after Williams sentencing, Kamiyah’s lawyer, Justin Bamberg, revealed she had finally gotten her own social security number and would soon take her driver's license exam and start a job.
But Kamiyah continued to treat Williams as her only mother — she didn't know any better after all these years.
Despite Williams' incarceration, Kamiyah regularly visits her and continues to seek her advice to this day.
Robin Roberts Presents: Stolen by My Mother: The Kamiyah Mobley Story premieres Saturday, January 18 at 8 pm ET/PT on Lifetime.